Drink more, fill tax coffers: Japan urges young adults to consume more alcoholic beverages

Young adults in Japan are increasingly sober, but tax agency wants them to drink more

Consumption of alcoholic beverages isn’t seen as a good thing by many around the world. Governments too want their citizens to stay sober, and have rolled out many a campaign from time to time to keep people away from being intoxicated, and drink more.

Not in Japan, though. As more and more young adults in the Asian nation prefer to stay sober and do all they can to stay away from alcoholic beverages, Japan’s government isn’t at all happy. With the youth of Japan staying sober, the tax coffers in the country are seeing depletion, and that is attributed to the administration’s move to promote beverages such as sake, or rice wine.

The more the youth keeps away from alcohol, the more taxes get hit. And that isn’t a good thing for a nation’s economy. In view of such a situation taking shape in Japan, the country’s tax agency is looking to reverse the trend. And it has found a way.  The Japanese national tax agency is set to bring in a national competition to come up with ideas to reverse the trend.

Japan tax agency rolls out campaign to make youth drink more

A campaign titled “Sake Viva!” is a way that the tax agency has zeroed in on to make the youth of the nation switch to drinking sake. By doing this, the agency hopes it would be able to resurrect the dwindling tax opportunities and also boost the industry. As per the campaign, the agency has called upon the young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 to share their business ideas to kick-start demand among their contemporaries.  The national tax agency has said, according to a report, that they can come up with ideas that would boost the market for sake, shochu, whiskey, beer or wine!

The youth have been requested to take part actively in the campaign and come up with ideas aimed at promotions, branding, and plans involving artificial intelligence to boost the alcoholic beverages sector in the country. 

It is a fact that the Covid 19 pandemic had affected sales of alcoholic beverages in the country as people turned increasingly health conscious. Further, with an added number of older people, sales just plummeted. As per the website created for the unique campaign, the alcohol market in Japan has been seeing bad times.


Older demographics, low birth rates push alcohol sector down

The site attributes an older demographic coupled with low birth rates as reasons for the alcohol market crash. Stats have proved that people have been consuming less in year 2020 compared with the figures of 1995. The quantity consumed had gone down from 100 litres to 75 litres, a year.

With the campaign on, many have come with criticism, slamming the agency’s move to boost an unhealthy habit. However, there have been positive responses too, with so many people suggesting that popular actresses need to be brought in as virtual-reality hostesses in digital clubs so as to attract drinkers. The campaign is expected to continue till end of September this year. Further to this date, the best ideas to promote drinking will be adopted after review.

Revenue from taxes on alcohol had nosedived over the past few years. While it stood at 5 percent of the total revenue in 1980, it went down to a paltry 1.7 percent in 2020.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The New Indian Express, MSN India, PanAsiaBiz. Sanjeev can be reached at [email protected]

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