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Please drink more: As tax revenues dwindle, Japan launches contest to encourage alcohol consumption

The Japanese government has launched a national competition calling for ideas to encourage people to drink more alcohol after a change in attitude among young adults led to a drop in tax revenue.

The National Tax Agency (NTA) organizes the Sake Viva! campaign, which invites people aged 20 to 39 to submit ideas for reviving the appeal of alcoholic beverages, which has waned due to lifestyle changes during the coronavirus pandemic, especially among young people.

As the Guardian reported, the competition, which is open until September 9, asks for “new items and designs” in addition to strategies to encourage drinking at home. Local website JiJi.com advises competitors to investigate metaverse-based sales strategies.

According to the NTA, the average annual consumption of alcohol in Japan has fallen from 100 liters per person in 1995 to 75 liters in 2020. The drop in alcohol sales has hurt Japan’s finances, which are already in the red by more of 48 trillion yen (£290 billion).

In 2020, alcohol-related taxes accounted for 1.7% of Japan’s total tax revenue, up from 3% in 2011 and 5% in 1980.

The NTA reported earlier this month that total alcohol tax revenue collected in fiscal year 2020 fell by more than $110 billion to $1.1 trillion from the previous year. The Japan Times said it was the biggest drop in alcohol tax revenue in 31 years.

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Beer consumption fell significantly, with sales volume down 20% to less than 1.8 billion litres.
According to the Kirin Brewery, which produces Ichiban Shibori and Kirin lager, the average Japanese consumed around 55 bottles of beer in 2020, down 9.1% from the previous year.

Japan’s health ministry has expressed hope that the campaign will also serve as a reminder to individuals to consume only the “right amount of alcohol”.

The contest finalists will be invited to a lavish awards ceremony in Tokyo on November 10; the tax office has announced that it will encourage commercialization of the winner’s ideas.

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Post expires at 11:25am on Saturday August 27th, 2022