A competition in Japan is being held to encourage young people to consume more alcohol.

A competition in Japan is being held to encourage young people to consume more alcohol.
The COVID-19 epidemic has had a significant impact on Japan's alcohol market, exacerbating an already prevalent decline in alcohol use. A new National Tax Agency-backed campaign aims to alter that, but it's been met with harsh criticism. Images by Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

The general public sees the youth population's decreasing alcohol use as a favorable development. However, this is terrible news for breweries and governments that rely on alcohol taxes.

The National Tax Agency of Japan is worried, as they have launched a unique online competition called Sake Viva!

Japan's sake, beer, and liquor companies are reportedly struggling because of the epidemic. Therefore, the initiative encourages young people to propose business proposals to entice a new generation into going on the sauce.

The contest goes against the current trend of sobriety in Japan.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare, alcohol consumption in the nation has declined since the 1990s. During the last decade, the Japanese government has implemented a wide-ranging strategy to combat the social and health issues associated with alcohol, with a particular emphasis on targeting the tiny percentage of the population responsible for approximately 70% of the country's total alcohol use.

The tax office claims that less drinking occurs in households due to coronavirus limitations and that firms in the bar industry have suffered as a result.

According to a website made just for the competition, "the domestic alcoholic beverage industry is diminishing owing to demographic trends such as the dropping birthrate and aging population," as well as lifestyle shifts away from drinking.

The site suggests several strategies for increasing alcohol consumption among young people in Japan, including introducing innovative new goods, using innovative virtual "AI and Metaverse" concepts in sales, and advertising the product's origins.

Plan to promote alcoholic beverage companies meets resistance.

The purpose of the competition is to "revitalize the alcohol sector and solve difficulties." However, it has been criticized online, with many wondering why the government, which has traditionally advocated for responsible drinking and abstinence, is suddenly seeking assistance in encouraging young people to drink more.

Karyn Nishi, a writer, and journalist, brought attention to the debate by stating that Japan was taking the opposite course from other contemporary governments and emphasizing the intrinsic dangers of alcohol. The contest sparked heated comments on Twitter, with one famous remark praising those young people who choose not to drink because they don't think the societal costs imposed by alcohol are offset by tax income.

Detractors also questioned the initiative's cost to taxpayers. Pasona Noentai, the agricultural and food division of the mammoth Japanese company Pasona Group, is responsible for the competition and the accompanying website.

The drinking competition will go for a few months, wrapping up in the autumn.

Submit your best sake recipe by September 9 to be considered for the Sake Viva! The contest is available to those aged 20 to 39. Despite sending an email to the contest's organizers for comments and information on the total number of submissions, we did not get a response in time for inclusion in this report.

In the final round of the pro-drinking event, entries will be assessed in person in Tokyo on November 10.

This day highlights the contradiction many people now perceive in the government's stance on alcoholic beverages: The Basic Act on Measures against Alcohol-related Harm in Japan set the first Monday in November as the day to begin public education campaigns about the dangers of alcohol consumption.