Call for alcohol warning video

THE move by Japan's top beer maker to produce a video warning teenagers of the dangers of alcohol has led to calls for similar advice to be given by brewers here.

KELY (Kids Everywhere Like You) counsellor, Mr Chris Simpson said it was refreshing that a company was taking this kind of responsibility for its product.

He said that other companies marketing alcohol or pharmaceutical drugs should be encouraged to follow suit.

''I am mildly surprised and hope it is the first step of many,'' he said.

Kirin said yesterday it had produced a video that it planned to distribute free to all the 16,000 junior and high schools in Japan if they request it.

A spokeswoman for Kirin Brewery Co Ltd said the video featured young people who had overcome a heavy drink problem and the parents of a youth who died after his schoolmates forced him to drink too much.

Kirin decided to make the video because it felt teenagers in Japan knew too little about the risks of excessive drinking, she said.

The marketing director of San Miguel, which sells Kirin in Hongkong, Mr Doji Villadolid said he had no knowledge of the video and San Miguel had not asked about showing it here.

Mr Simpson wants the video shown here because he believes that if a company takes a responsible attitude to its product it encourages customers to look at it in the same way.

Hongkong University Lecturer in Psychology, Dr Louis Young, described the move as a fairly radical step for a company to take.

''In principle it could be a very good public image move but like any advertising it depends on the idea.'' The president of the Psychological Society, Dr Geoffrey Harrison said the success of the video would very much depend on how it was done.

In Japan the legal drinking age is 20, but doctors and volunteer groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are worried that alcohol consumption is rising sharply among schoolchildren.

Alcohol is readily available in Japan where street vending machines offer beer, bottles of sake and even whisky.

In Hongkong the tragedy that occurred in Lan Kwai Fong at New Year has led to a renewed focus on the problems of under age drinking in the territory.

Of particular concern is the easy availability of alcohol in convenience stores and supermarkets.