Japan’s young adults are a bit sober something officials are hoping to change with a new campaign.
The younger generation is drinking less alcohol than their parents, a trend that has hit tax revenues on drinks like sake hard.
Therefore, the Japanese IRS (NTA) launched a national competition to come up with ideas to reverse this trend.
The Viva Sake promotion! hopes to come up with a plan to make the drink more appealing — and boost the industry.
The competition challenges people aged 20 to 39 to share their business ideas to drive demand among their peers whether for sake, shochu, whisky, beer or Japanese wine.
The group, which organizes the competition for tax authority, says new habits some of which have emerged during the Covid19 pandemic and an aging population have led to a drop in alcohol sales.
The idea is for participants to come up with ideas for promotions, branding, and even innovative plans using artificial intelligence.
Japanese media reports the initiative is divided, with some criticism for trying to encourage an unhealthy habit.
But others have posted quirky suggestions online like famous actresses “acting” as receptionists at digital VR clubs.
Participants have until the end of September to submit their proposals. The best ideas are then developed with the help of experts before final proposals are submitted in November.
The campaign website claims that Japan’s alcohol market is shrinking and that the country’s elderly population along with declining birth rates is a major factor.
Recent tax agency data shows that the Japanese drank less in 2020 than in 1995, with a reduction from 100 liters to 75 liters per year.
As a result, the tax revenue from the alcohol tax has also shrunk over the years. According to local newspaper The Japan Times, it accounted for 5% of total sales in 1980, but by 2020 it had dropped to just 1.7%.
The World Bank estimates that almost a third (29%) of Japan’s population is aged 65 or older the highest percentage of elderly people in the world.
Concerns about the future of sake aren’t the only problem facing Japan’s economy there are fears about the availability of younger workers for certain types of jobs and caring for older people in the future.
This text was originally published at https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/internacional62578652