October 5, 2022
Japan's tax agency tells young people to drink more alcohol with new 'Sake Viva!' campaign

Japan is encouraging young people to drink more alcohol — and pay more in liquor taxes — in a new contest aimed at juicing up the economy after a decline in drinking habits and profits.

The “Sake Viva!” campaign from Japan’s National Tax Agency is soliciting new promotional methods, products and designs aimed to “stimulate demand among young people,” according to CNN. 

The contest specifically asks for submissions from people ages 20 to 39, the Financial Times reported, and covers promotional concepts for all Japanese domestic alcohols, from sake and shochu to Japanese whisky. The winner will receive government support in commercializing their idea.

Applications to get young Japanese to drink and give a hearty “Cheers!” (or “Kampai!” as they say in Japan) are open until Sept. 9.

Shrinking drinking habits have dried out the market, with citizens in their 20s drinking regularly just 7.8% of the time, CNN said. As such, the liquor duties that made up 5% of Japanese tax revenues have declined to just 1.7% of revenues, the network added.

“The domestic alcoholic beverage market is shrinking due to demographic changes such as the declining birthrate and aging population, and lifestyle changes due to the impact of Covid-19,” the contest website read, as cited by CNN.

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The Japanese health ministry, for its part, has not opposed the “Sake Viva!” campaign, telling the Financial Times that it trusts the campaign will promote an “appropriate amount of alcohol consumption.”

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