Pat Nolan Blog

“Sake Viva!” says Japanese government

"Sake Viva!" ran the slogan from a campaign by the Japanese government about alcohol consumption.
Japan's National Tax Agency urged more consumption by young people to help boost the economy.

Japan’s National Tax Agency urged more consumption by young people to help boost the economy.

However the campaign did not encourage people to drink less – but more!

There’s just not enough of it going on amongst Japan’s youth.

So feels the government there, smarting from the drop in tax take on alcohol as Japan’s young people tend to drink less alcohol than their elders (and betters), it seems.

Japan’s National Tax Agency therefore urged more consumption by young Japanese people to boost the economy in effect and it launched an online competition for people to come up with business plans and ideas to boost alcohol consumption (and thus excise tax).

It wanted those in the 20 to 40 age bracket to come up with novel ideas to boost alcohol demand among their peers.

Indeed, Japan’s liquor companies, izakaya (pub) businesses and restaurants face a range of challenges above and beyond those already posed by the pandemic.

Just under 30% of the country’s population is now over the age of 65 – the highest such proportion in the world. A significant ageing population coupled with the aforementioned youthful resistance to partaking in alcohol consumption on the same scale as their elders has seen alcohol consumption on a continuous decline since the 1990s.

The Japan Times reckons that alcohol consumption has fallen to just 1.7% of total government revenues in 2020 from 5% in 1980.

So, as the competition organisers stated, “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.

“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’ll revitalize the industry,” went the thinking from those running the world’s third-largest economy.

Of course the reactions to the project were mixed between the health lobbies and the manufacturers.

However ideas coming in were not in short supply (the competition is now closed) and included, for example, having a famous actress as a virtual reality hostess in a digital nightclub.

There were no restrictions on who could apply or from what nationality but for those outside the country thinking of putting pen to paper, perhaps they were put off when they read, “application documents and reference documents can only be submitted in Japanese. In addition, if you participate in the final round, you will be required to give a presentation in Japanese and respond to questions and answers”.



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