Japan opens a contest to encourage its young people to drink more alcohol

The Japan Tax Agency has opened a competition to collect business ideas aimed at promoting young people drink more alcohol, given the decrease in its consumption as a result of the pandemic and the consequent drop in tax collection. The campaign, named "Sake alive!" (a play on words that uses the Japanese term for alcoholic beverages and the Spanish word), invites you to submit proposals for "revitalize the industry alcoholic drinks and solve your problems", as stated on its website. The objective of it is "increase knowledge among the population about the alcoholic beverages sector, which is going through difficulties due to covid and the low birth rate, which means that there are fewer consumers", as explained to Efe by a spokesman for the Japanese Tax Agency. This organization also works to support the national alcoholic industry by promoting the export of products such as sake (rice liquor), "which are an important part of the japan culture and tradition", according to the same source. Given the criticism that the campaign is receiving on social networks for promoting unhealthy habits, the spokesman pointed out that the Tax Agency "does not seek excessive alcohol consumption and also works to educate young people for moderate consumption". Alcohol tax collection in Japan fell in fiscal year 2020 by 110 billion yen (799 million euros) to 1.13 trillion yen (8,216 million euros), which represents the largest drop in 31 years, according to data from the Tax Agency. The average per capita spending on alcohol in bars and restaurants in 2020 was 9,000 yen (about 65 euros), which is less than half that recorded a year earlier, according to data from the Ministry of the Interior. In contrast, the average expenditure of each Japanese household on alcoholic beverages rose from 41,000 yen (298 euros) in 2019 to 46,000 yen (334 euros) in 2020.

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Other official data and the results sheets of Japanese companies in the sector also show a marked decrease in sales of products with alcoholic content, compared to the upward trend of non-alcoholic beverages similar to the beer or cocktailsand other products with energetic properties or supposed health benefits.

This evolution is attributed to the anti-contagion measures of the Asian country during the pandemic, which included the recommendation to citizens to avoid leaving home except for essential travel, although Japan never applied the mandatory confinement, and the time restrictions for bars or restaurants or even their temporary closure.

The Tax Agency campaign invites you to send ideas to promote new services and methods to stimulate alcohol consumption among young peoplepropose products based on the new lifestyles and establish innovative distribution methods based on artificial intelligence or the metaverse. The period for presenting proposals is open from the beginning of July until September 9, and in November there will be a presentation with the plans of the chosen finalists.

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