While Japan is one of the largest markets for cigarettes in the world, demand has been in continuous decline since 1998. The unprecedented tax increase of 40.0%, effective from October 2010, pushed consumption downwards by around 10%, although this fall was in fact much lower than had been anticipated by most observers. In 2011 consumption fell again as a result of the widespread disruption caused by the tsunami. Fiscal 2013 saw a further contraction in market size, although a 0.9% increase followed in fiscal 2014 as consumers responded early to the planned tax increase. Another fall followed in fiscal 2015.
- Per capita consumption levels remain relatively high by global standards but they have fallen consistently every year since 1999.
- Japan Tobacco retains a legal monopoly over cigarette production in Japan and remains the dominant supplier.
- Its principal competitor is PMI, with BAT also present. The market is dominated by king size (85mm) cigarettes, but sales of 100mm sizes are quite significant and growing and these now hold around 10.0% of the market.
- Menthol products have been gaining share consistently, capturing 28.0% of the market in 2015
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