Japan encourages young people to drink more to boost tax revenues

Tokyo, Aug 18 (EFE).- The Japanese Tax Agency has launched a contest calling for ideas to boost alcohol consumption among young people after tax revenues plummeted following a pandemic dip in drinking habits.

The ‘Sake viva!’ campaign’s website calls for proposals aimed at revitalizing the alcoholic beverage industry.

Japan’s national tax agency is working to support the domestic alcohol industry by promoting the export of products like sake (rice wine), “which are an important part of Japanese culture and tradition,” a spokesperson told Efe.

The campaign has sparked fury on social media for promoting unhealthy habits but the spokesman tried to assuage critics insisting the NTA does not want to encourage excessive alcohol consumption.

Alcohol tax revenues in Japan fell in 2020 by 110 billion yen ($813 million) to 1.1 trillion yen, the largest drop in 31 years, according to the NTA.

The average per capita spending on alcohol in bars and restaurants in 2020 was 9,000 yen, less than half than in 2019, according to data from the interior ministry.

However, the average spending of Japanese households on alcoholic beverages rose from 41,000 yen in 2019 to 46,000 yen in 2020.

Official data gathered by Japanese companies in the sector also warn of a sharp decline in sales of products with alcohol, compared to the upward trend of non-alcoholic beverages, energy drinks and healthy drinks.

Contestants can submit proposals until September 9, and finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony in November. EFE


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