Japan’s government launches competition to get people drinking

theguardian.com -- Aug 18

The Japanese government has launched a nationwide competition calling for ideas to encourage people to drink more alcohol after a change in attitudes among the young resulted in a slide in tax revenues.

The Sake Viva! campaign, which is being run by the National Tax Agency (NTA), asks 20- to 39-year-olds to come up with proposals to help revitalise the popularity of alcoholic drinks, which have fallen out of favour because of lifestyle changes during the coronavirus pandemic and among young people.

The competition, which runs until 9 September, calls for “new products and designs” as well as ways to promote home drinking. Entrants are also encouraged to explore sales methods using the metaverse, according to local website JiJi.com.

The NTA said alcohol consumption in Japan had fallen from an average of 100 litres a person a year in 1995 to 75 litres in 2020. The decrease in alcohol sales has hit Japan’s budget, which is already running a deficit of more than Y48tn.

Taxes on alcohol accounted for 1.7% of Japan’s tax revenue in 2020, down from 3% in 2011 and 5% in 1980. Total revenue from tax on alcohol in the 2020 financial year fell by more than Y110bn to Y1.1tn, compared with the previous year, the NTA said earlier this month. It was the biggest fall in alcohol tax income in 31 years, according to the Japan Times. ...continue reading