Japan to reduce wine stockpiles at embassies

Japan’s foreign ministry has told its embassies abroad to reduce huge wine stockpiles after finding excessive build-ups, including almost 7,900 bottles at one European mission alone.

"I was very surprised to see the report by the audit board," Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, who took office a month ago, told a parliamentary committee after a recent audit of embassies’ booze stocks.

"I knew there was a considerable inventory of wine, but one mission had as much as 30 times" their 2009 annual consumption, he said.

"It would be fine if they kept their stocks, but some missions discarded 1,000 bottles. It’s a big waste."

Maehara said the centre-left government that swept to power last year had pushed efforts since then to reduce the stockpiles by transferring extra bottles between embassies and through sales to private entities.

"We have made reforms to bring the inventory to an appropriate level. We want to manage wine and other stocks so that we eliminate waste," he said.

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