Young People Aren’t Drinking a Lot in Japan — The Government Wants To Change That

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While numerous after-school specials warn young adults of the dangers of drinking, Japan’s government is taking a different approach. A new campaign by the country’s government aims to increase drinking among younger Japanese residents.

In a late-summer “Sake Viva!” contest, the country’s National Tax Agency is trying to promote alcohol consumption among younger people, as The Guardian reports. It’s calling for 20- to 39-year-olds to submit their ideas for innovative products and packaging for alcoholic drinks. Entrants are even encouraged to venture into the metaverse with ideas that might pique their peers’ interest.

The purpose behind the campaign? Raising tax revenue. Japan’s tax-funded projects have suffered in recent years, and it’s estimated that the nation’s budget currently sits at a ¥48 trillion ($349 billion) deficit.

While nonalcoholic beverages have gained popularity worldwide in the past year, young people in Japan are cutting back on drinks. The pandemic served as a catalyst for the dip in the country’s alcohol consumption. As more employees shifted to working from home, sales dipped drastically and haven’t since rebounded.

In 2020, the amount of beer sold in the country declined by 20 percent, according to Japan Times.

While the tax department pushes for higher consumption rates, The Guardian reports that Japan’s health bureau also is promoting a reminder to drink in moderation and within health recommendations.