Tokyo Bottled Tap Water Sold to Suspecting Consumers!

Tokyo Bottled Tap WaterTokyo Bottled Tap Water If you or I bottled tap water and started selling it on the street for a buck a pop, that would be a crime. When the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Waterworks does it, it's called a public awareness campaign. Call it what you will, it still seems screwy... why would anyone pay for a bottle of something they can get free from the tap at home? Yet nearly 50 waterworks in Japan are merrily selling ordinary tap water in fancy bottles and probably making money hand over fish - I mean, fist. The latest government body to get in on the action is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Waterworks, rolling out "Tokyo-sui" bottled tap water in an effort to convince consumers that municipal tap water is safe and delicious.

Canned Bottled WaterCanned Bottled Water You'd think that just displaying Tokyo tap water in a bottle would be enough to get the point across, but nooooo.... the TMGB of W has decided to SELL its tap water for 100 Yen (just under a dollar) a bottle. Evidently, if it's worth paying for, it has to be good - or so the government is hoping oblivious city dwellers will think. According to one promoter, "We hope that people will take a fresh look at tap water, and return to drinking water straight from the tap." Really dude? Wouldn't that put the kibosh on the whole scheme? (Canned Bottled Water image via Merry Man in Japan )


Osaka Bottled Tap WaterOsaka Bottled Tap Water All carping aside, Tokyo was not going to stand idly by while other cities, especially arch-rival Osaka, merrily went about shaking down their citizens. Osaka's Municipal Waterworks Bureau has sold 15,000 bottles of "Honma ya" purified tap water since march and the Shimonoseki City Waterworks and Sewerage Bureau - just the folks I want to buy my drinking water from - has sold about 130,000 bottles of "Aa Kanrosui" bottled water. The big selling point is that people can stock up on the water in case of an emergency (like the taps running dry). Couldn't they just sell the empty bottles and let folks fill them at home? It sure would be a lot less weight to carry back on the subway. (via Mainichi News)

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer

Jul 1, 2007
by Gloria Campos
Gloria Campos's picture

Scam or Awareness?

Didn't they sell tap water in the US a couple of years ago? Wasn't it called a scam?

Jul 1, 2007
by Steve Levenstein
Steve Levenstein's picture

But can they see through it?

I guess it's not officially a scam if it's conducted by officials. Seriously though, if enough people fall for, that is, buy it, this just might be a new revenue "stream" for city governments (badda boom!).

Jul 3, 2007
by Anonymous Big Red (not verified)

How Are They Supposed to "Stock up on the water..."

if, as you pointed out in your article on "tiny" Japanese living, they don't have much space?  Dah.

Jul 4, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

In Some "Taste Tests"

people who were sure they knew the difference between tap water and expensive bottled water and believed that the latter tasted much better often selected (mistook) the tap water!  They were, uh, drowning in their own stupidity.

Jul 10, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

Who would drink it anyway?

The thing I don't get is who would drink tap water in Tokyo or Osaka anyway? Osaka tap water is worse than Tokyo's, but not by much! The stench should be enough to put anybody off drinking it.... at least anybody who doesn't use the horrid stuff regularly & get used to the smell.....

Aug 23, 2007
by YNA6 (not verified)


MWS.....letters on bottled water in Canada, meaning "Metropolitan Water Source"...or tap water. Not illegal to sell, just, has to be clearly marked. Coca Cola must now say in actual words that their bottled water IS tap water.

As long as 2/3rds of the worlds supply of fresh water is in North America, we'll have a great natural resource to sell...and it renews itself yearly!