Not beer exactly...
Sorry for being an unclear photo because it was shot by cell phone with low graphic mode camera.
These are sort of beers and not beers exactly.
By the way, beers in Germany are different from the ones in Japan. Beers in Germany are made from only malt, hop and water; however, the ones in Japan contain corn or rice beside.
So the authority in Japan regards beers as drinks, made of more than 67% of malt, unlike 100% in Germany.
Next, what is the difference between Japanese beers and "sort of beers"? They contain less than 67% of malt. These flavor is just like beer, but not so tasty as a real beer.
Why isn't malt so popular? Because the tax rate varies up to the percentage of malt in beer. The less percentage of malt, the less tax rate.
Here is an example:
A beer of 350 ml is 218 JPY and 78 JPY out of 218 is tax.
Sort of beer, less than 25% of malt, of 350 ml is 145 JPY and only 37 JPY out of 145 JPY is tax.
In short, the tax of the beer is twice than that of "sort of beers".
The companies make malt less in beer since they want to sell them at low price.
Here is the real problem....
Now "sort of beers" are getting popular in Japan since they are cheaper. So the tax income of beer is getting low. Then the government have largely raised taxes on "sort of beer", on May this year! (Strictly speaking, it means that some of "sort of beers" and most are the same tax rate) Incredible!! Though I do not like beer so much...