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Vending Machines to Require I.D. Cards for Alcohol Purchases

May 18, 1995

TOKYO (AP) _ All Japanese vending machines that sell alcoholic beverages will be replaced with new models requiring buyers to display identity cards to try to prevent under-age drinking.

The Association of Alcoholic Beverage Retailers adopted the measure Thursday to head off calls for the abolition of all vending machines that sell alcohol.

The new machines, to be introduced this fall, will require buyers to insert ID cards bearing their names and birthdays, then enter a four-digit secret code number. The ID cards will be issued by the retailers. All 200,000 of the machines must be replaced within five years.

The vending machines had been criticized for enabling teen-agers to buy alcohol. In Japan, the drinking age is 20.

Last December, the western city of Izumo banned all vending machines that sell alcoholic drinks and pornographic magazines. Izumo was the first municipality in Japan to take such a step.

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