Japanese youth are being encouraged to drink more and boost the economy following a drop in tax revenue from alcoholic beverages.

The Japanese government has launched a national competition to revitalize the industry which has shrunk due to changing demographics, lifestyle choices and the coronavirus pandemic.

Sake Viva! from the country’s national tax agency! through September 9, asks 20-39 year olds to come up with ideas for new “products and designs” to “drive demand from young people”.

This includes strengthening Japanese alcoholic beverages such as sake (rice wine), beer, whiskey, wine, or beer.

“The domestic alcoholic beverage market is shrinking due to demographic changes such as declining birth rate and aging population, as well as lifestyle changes due to the impact of the novel coronavirus infection,” says the tax office’s campaign website.

“In this project, by asking young people to come up with 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 will reinvigorate the industry.”

Taxes on alcoholic products made up 5% of total revenue in 1980, but have fallen to just 1.7% in 2020, according to the Japan Times.

“While working from home has made progress to some extent during the COVID-19 crisis, many people may have come to wonder whether they should continue drinking with colleagues to deepen communication,” said a tax agency official at the newspaper. .

“If the ‘new normal’ takes hold, it will be an additional headwind for tax revenue,” they added.

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