Drink more alcohol, Japan urges its young people

·1-min read
Socialising has struggled to resume after a Covid-induced hiatus - REUTERS/Issei Kato
Socialising has struggled to resume after a Covid-induced hiatus - REUTERS/Issei Kato

Japan has launched a drive to get young people to drink more alcohol.

The move comes after many stopped drinking during the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to less revenue for the National Tax Agency.

Now, the agency has invited anyone aged 20 to 39 to submit ideas for strategies to increase alcohol consumption, including promoting drinking at home.

Entrants to the "Sake Viva!" contest have until Sept 9 to come up with ideas, with the winning plan being announced in November and adopted by the NTA.

Consumption of alcohol in Japan has fallen by 25 per cent in the last quarter-century, for reasons including an ageing population.

The trend was exacerbated by the pandemic as young people stopped going out to restaurants and socialising as much.

In 2020, taxes from alcohol sales saw their biggest fall in three decades. In that year consumption of beer, which was the worst affected drink, was down by over 20 per cent.

Earlier this month, an NTA official told the Japan Times that the move to working from home had also impacted drinking and taxes.

The official said: "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."

According to the World Health Organisation alcohol consumption per head is significantly less in Japan than in the UK, although still more than in China.