‘Sake Viva’: Why Japan is asking its young people to drink more

According to an NTA report in 2021, the taxable volume of liquor has declined since it peaked in 1999

Japan alcohol campaign Sake Viva
Representational image: Sake Viva website

Japan has launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging younger people to drink more and “revitalise” the domestic alcoholic beverage market.

The country’s National Tax Agency (NTA) has introduced content named ‘Sake Viva’ where it has invited ideas from people aged between 20 and 39 to boost alcohol consumption including drinking at home.

According to the campaign’s official website, “The domestic alcoholic beverage market is shrinking due to demographic changes such as the declining birth rate and aging population, and lifestyle changes due to the impact of the new coronavirus infection.”

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“In this project, by asking young people to propose their own business plans, we will appeal to young people for the development and promotion of Japanese alcoholic beverages, and at the same time, we will revitalize the industry by announcing excellent plans,” it added.

The NTA said it is holding a business contest to consider the development and promotion of Japanese alcoholic beverages aimed at solving problems in the alcoholic beverage industry targeting young people.

“Eligible applicants must be individuals or groups aged between 20 and 39. If you are applying as a group, please limit the number of applicants to 3,” it said.

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The campaign ends on September 9 and the finals are scheduled for November 10 in Tokyo.

According to an NTA report in 2021, the taxable volume of liquor has declined since it peaked in 1999.

“It is apparent that the trend in the composition of the taxable volume of each kind of liquor products has considerably changed recently. The taxable volume of beer, in particular, declined considerably, because there seems to be a shift of consumption from beer to low-priced liquor, such as sparkling liquor, chuhai and beer-like products (the so-called new genre drinks),” the NTA said in the report.

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As per NTA data, Japan collected about yen 1.1 trillion in tax from liquor sales, or around 2% of total tax revenue in fiscal 2020, down 13% from 2016. The volume of alcohol taxed has steadily shrunk to 7.7 billion litres as of 2020, down nearly 10% from a decade ago, estimates from the tax agency show, a Japan Times report said.

The campaign has met fierce backlash on social media, with users criticising the taxman for dictating people’s lifestyle choices. It’s a business promotion to encourage growth and “in no way is it encouraging people to drink excessively,” the NTA said, the report added.