Japan's national tax agency is trying to tackle a decline in revenue by persuading young people to change their sober ways. Younger people in Japan aren't drinking as much as previous generations did, and so the tax agency has launched a competition to find ways to boost alcohol consumption among people between 20 and 39 years old, the BBC reports. The "Sake Viva" campaign warns that the domestic alcohol market is shrinking due to demographic and lifestyle changes and asks people to come up with business ideas to improve "the development and promotion of Japanese alcoholic beverages," including sake, whisky, and beer, to young people, per Sky News.
Officials say alcohol consumption in Japan fell by nearly a third between the mid-1990s and 2020, and the proportion of tax revenue that comes from alcohol taxes dived from 5% in 1980 to just 1.7% in 2020, the Guardian reports. After the pandemic hit, the total revenue from alcohol taxes fell more than 10% year-on-year. The Washington Post reports that, according to a health ministry survey in 2019, almost 30% of Japanese people in their 20s don't drink alcohol at all and another 26.5% rarely drink.
The tax agency's contest urges people to come up with new "products and designs based on new lifestyles and changes in tastes due to [COVID-19]," as well as new sales methods involving AI and the metaverse. The Post notes there's been a backlash to the campaign on social media, with critics accusing the agency of trying to get young people addicted to alcohol. "As long as they can collect taxes, I guess people's health doesn't matter," one Twitter user wrote. (Read more Japan stories.)