Japan govt wants public to drink more alcohol to boost economy

It's good for the country.

Sulaiman Daud | August 18, 2022, 02:52 PM

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The Japanese government has a problem. The Japanese public is not drinking enough alcohol.

To reverse this worrying trend, the Japanese government has launched a campaign calling for ideas to get people to drink more.

Pandemic hit to alcohol revenue

According to the Japan Times on Aug. 2, revenue from liquor taxes in Financial Year 2020 dropped by 110 billion yen (S$1.13 billion) as compared to the previous year.

"Both the size of the fall and the rate of decrease were the largest in 31 years since the impact of a drastic revision of the Liquor Tax Law in fiscal 1989," Japan Times said.

The Covid-19 pandemic was cited as a factor, as people stayed indoors and visits to restaurants serving alcoholic beverages slowed to a trickle.

However, according to an official from Japan's National Tax Agency, people's habits may have been permanently changed by the pandemic, with more working from home.

"Many people may have come to question whether they need to continue the habit of drinking with colleagues to deepen communication...If the 'new normal' takes root, that will be an additional headwind for tax revenue," the official said.

Campaign to drink more

To counter this, the Agency is running the Sake Viva! campaign to encourage more people to drink, especially young people.

According to The Guardianthe campaign runs until September 9 and calls for new products and designs, in addition to ways to popularise home drinking.

Finalists in the competition will be invited to gala awards ceremony in Tokyo on 10 November, and the tax office said it would support the commercialisation of the ideas from the winner."

However, the Japanese health ministry said that it hoped the campaign would also remind the public to only drink an appropriate amount.

Top image by Kris Sevinc via Unsplash.