Japan wants young adults to drink more booze — Analysis

Looking for new ways to boost revenue, Tokyo’s tax authority will hold a competition for ideas on how to revive liquor sales

A contest has been launched by the Japanese tax collector asking citizens for innovative ideas to reduce alcohol sales. The goal is to get young people to drink more and increase government revenue. 

The National Tax Agency (NTA) has dubbed the new campaign ‘Sake Viva!’ after Japan’s iconic rice wine, calling on anyone aged between 20 and 39 to submit business ideas for the country’s alcohol industry, which is lagging in the wake of Covid-19 and declining drinking habits nationwide. 

According to an official government website, this contest runs until September 9. It asks for entries. “new products and designs”There are also ways you can encourage drinking at home. In November in Tokyo, winners will be invited for an award ceremony. The taxing agency has also vowed that it would back investment in the winning idea.

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The NTA noted that taxes on alcohol made up about 3% of the government’s tax revenue in 2011, but had dropped to 2% by 2020, citing a need to revitalize booze sales.

Similar to what is happening in Japan among similar age groups in other countries in the past decades, Japan’s young adults have drastically reduced their alcohol intake in recent years. The average annual adult consumption fell from 100 liters of 1995 to 75 in 2020.

Though Japan’s health ministry said it was not participating in the initiative, it voiced hopes that the tax agency would encourage only the “appropriate amount of alcohol consumption,”It also stated that the NTA is still in contact regarding this issue.

The contest is not the first of its kind, as the NTA rolled out a project called ‘Enjoy Sake!’ last year in a similar effort to gin up new business ideas. It’s unclear whether the last campaign saw success given the ongoing drop in revenues, but the agency is taking another crack at the idea regardless.

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