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Japan launches nationwide drinking contest following downward trend in young people consuming alcohol

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Aug 19, 2022 4:32 pm

Japan is currently fretting about the alcohol consumption of its young people, but in ways you might not think of.

In recent years, there has been a downtrend in young adults who are drinking alcoholic beverages in the country. While that sounds like good news to many, booze companies in Japan are not taking it too well.

This is why Japan has started a contest called Sake Viva! to increase alcohol consumption among young Japanese adults.

According to a report by National Public Radio, the contest launched by Japan's National Tax Agency is asking young entrepreneurs to submit business plans that will encourage the public to consume sake, beer, and liquor in the country.

This is in an effort to increase alcohol tax revenues, which have plummeted as a result of the ongoing pandemic and Japan residents not buying enough alcoholic beverages.

"The domestic alcoholic beverage market is shrinking due to demographic changes such as the declining birthrate and aging population, and lifestyle changes due to the impact of the new coronavirus infection," the translation of the contest's website read.

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

The contest aims to gather plans that "contribute to revitalizing the liquor industry and solving problems". These include new services and promotion methods to stimulate demand among young people and the proposal of new products based on lifestyle in line with the pandemic.

As the unusual contest was revealed to the public, several citizens voiced out their opposition to the project, which seemingly contradicts Japan's goal to decrease the drinking of alcohol because of health problems linked to it.

"Taxpayer money being used by the tax authorities to encourage unhealthy habits is a bit rich. Hopefully, the health ministry will introduce countervailing campaigns (with taxpayer money) to maintain the new low levels of drinking!" one person wrote on Twitter.

"As a Japanese taxpayer, I have decided to stop drinking until the finance ministry scraps this senseless and harmful campaign. Boycott and get healthier!" he added.

"While various countries in the world are taxing alcohol to reduce drinking because it is a vice that creates various social and health costs, we have a government agency pushing for more drinking to tax the industry more, at the expense of those who drink," another user tweeted.

The application period for Sake Viva! will end on Sept. 9 and the final tournament will be held on Nov. 10 in Tokyo. Individuals or groups of three between the ages of 20 and 39 are free to participate.