“Drink alcohol for the nation!” asks the Japanese tax authority

“Drink alcohol for the nation!” asks the Japanese tax authority

By Regis Arnaud

Posted yesterday at 4:10pm, updated yesterday at 4:49pm

Drinking a smoothie is less conducive to the condition. 401992241/west_photo – stock.adobe.com

The tax office is alarmed by the significant drop in consumption of beer and spirits, which is having a very concrete impact on its tax revenues.

Drink patriotically! This is the message that the Japanese government is sending to its people. In contrast to comparable countries that encourage their fellow citizens to reduce their alcohol consumption, Japan’s tax authority has launched a major competition called Sake viva, urging the public to show ingenuity in the fight against declining sales in the beer and spirits industry. “The aim of this project is to inspire the younger generation to develop and promote Japanese alcoholic beverages,” reads the website, which features a hilarious young woman holding a beer.

The slope for the national industry is steep: from a peak in 1999 of 1 million hectolitres, the “volume of taxable alcohol,” as the tax office says, has fallen by 20%. For beer, it has fallen by two-thirds since 1996, from 701 to less than 235 hectoliters! The aging of the population has played along with this. This alcohol incentive from the administration, which is a priori the most serious in the country, is explained by the tax windfall that alcohol causes in the same way as salt and tobacco. Taxes on alcoholic beverages watered the budget at 3% of revenue in 2011 but more than 2% in 2020. All shame on drunk, Treasury remains an active promoter of alcohol. Japan’s financial gods are thirsty: With a national debt that is twice as high as economic output, every new recipe is good to use. In the Ministry of Health we play it sober and call for “moderate” drinking.