Japan’s bid to get young to drink more meets online backlash

indianexpress.com -- Aug 19
A campaign by Japan’s tax agency to prop up alcohol revenue by encouraging young people to drink up has met fierce backlash on social media, with users criticising the taxman for dictating people’s lifestyle choices.

The National Tax Agency’s “Sake Viva!” idea competition, which is seeking business plans from young people or groups to help “revitalise” the nation’s liquor industry, was launched in July and gained traction on Twitter this week after local and overseas media outlets reported the move.

Brewers in the country have struggled to arrest a decline in alcohol sales due to more health-conscious consumers, an ageing society and changing tastes among the young. A sharp fall in alcohol sales at restaurants and bars during the Covid-19 pandemic has seen producers resort to promoting even lower-alcohol products, while rising inflation is further squeezing profits.

The “Sake Viva” hashtag on Twitter was filled with heated responses. One user called the campaign “ridiculous,” saying young people avoiding alcohol should be perceived as a good thing. This sentiment was followed by others, some users noting the campaign appeared to be at odds with health ministry guidance that encourages moderate drinking. ...continue reading

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