Japan Launches Campaign For Young People to Drink More to Boost Economy

Japan's national tax agency has reportedly launched a national competition in hopes to make alcoholic drinks more attractive to the younger generation, boosting the economy in turn.

The "Sake Viva" campaign asks 20-39 year-olds to share their business ideas to increase demand for alcoholic drinks including Japanese sake, shochu, whiskey, beer or wine. This contest was devised after a realization that Generation Z (people born between 1997 and the early 2010s) is drinking less alcohol which has hit taxes for adult beverages.

Recent trends have indicated that Generation Z drinks less than millennials, a trend that has resulted in lower alcohol sales and therefore less income for the government through taxes.

Contestants are asked to come up with promotions, branding and even cutting-edge plans involving artificial intelligence.

This stock image shows a group of young people drinking alcohol. Japan's tax agency has launched a national competition in hopes to make alcoholic drinks more attractive to the younger generation in an effort to boost the economy. Getty

The group running the competition for the tax authority says new habits have formed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has contributed to the downward trend in drinking alcohol.

Response to this campaign has been mixed in the country, according to Japanese media, BBC reported. Some have argued it promotes an unhealthy habit while others have reveled in the challenge and suggested quirky ideas to increase the sale of alcohol.

Contestants have until the end of September to put forward their ideas. The best plans will then be developed with help from experts before the final proposals are presented in November.

A report by the Pace Recovery Center, a California addiction treatment center, shed some light on why there is a growing trend to consume less alcohol among the younger generation.

"The younger generations, particularly the Millennials and GenZers, are drinking less than their older counterparts," the report said. "This is due, in part, to the fact that they fear what will happen when they lose control when drinking and how their actions will appear on social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.

"These younger generations are also concerned about their health as well, but are mainly influenced by a wider cultural shift that young people have accepted as normal."

The report added that sales of non-alcoholic beer and cocktails have also seen an increase as part of this trend to reduce alcohol consumption.

"A 2018 report prepared by Berenberg Research found that GenZers around the world, along with their millennial counterparts, are drinking less than older generations did at their age," Pace Recovery Center said.

"The report also found that 64 [percent] of those respondents in Gen Z said they expected to drink alcohol less frequently when they grow older than the older generations do now. They cite health concerns, as well as concerns about hangovers and worries over how they will be judged when they drink."

Newsweek reached out to the Japanese government for comment.