Retail in Asia


Why is Japan’s National Tax Agency urging young adults to drink?

Young adults in Japan have significantly reduced their alcohol consumption in recent decades. With the average annual intake of the Japanese youth decreasing from 100 liters in 1995 to 75 liters in 2020, the same has been observed in other countries of the same age group. According to the National Tax Agency (NTA), alcohol taxes accounted for about 3 percent of government taxes in 2011, but dropped to 2 percent by 2020.

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The decline can be attributed to a variety of factors, including an aging population, pandemic-induced drinking habits, low birth rates, and health consciousness.

‘Sake Viva!’ is a new campaign by the NTA, urging anyone aged 20 to 39 to submit ideas for the country’s alcohol industry that is struggling due to Covid-19 and declining drinking habits. To encourage more drinking, the Japanese government launched a nationwide campaign.

An official government website gained international attention this week, with the aim of promoting  home drinking. By organising a contest that runs until September 9, the government encourages the submission for “new products and designs” on alcohol consumption. The winning ideas will receive funding from the National Tax Agency.

It is hoped that the competition’s ideas will help increase alcohol sales and boost government revenue from alcohol taxes, which have fallen from 5 percent to 1.7 percent since 1980.

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However, the campaign has not been well received by everyone. Some critics argue that young people avoiding alcohol should be perceived as a good thing, while others question if the campaign contradicts health ministry guidelines. The health ministry said it hoped the NTA would only promote an  “appropriate amount of alcohol consumption.”