The National Tax Agency invites people to submit ideas on how to boost demand for alcohol through new services, promotional methods, products, designs and even sales techniques using artificial intelligence or metaverse, according to the official competition website.
The website said that the competition was aimed at appeal to the younger generation and to revitalize the industry as a result of demographic changes such as the declining birthrate and aging population. The contest has promotional ideas for all types of Japanese alcohol, with applications open until September 9. Finalists will be invited to an expert consultation in October before a final tournament in November in Tokyo. The tax office said the winner will receive support for their plan to be commercialized. The competition and the tax agency get criticism from some people online, but not everyone is on board. One user wrote on Twitter. Staying away from alcohol is a good thing! Some people pointed out that it seemed inappropriate for a government agency to encourage young people to drink, and it appeared that the campaign had not considered health risks or sensitivity toward people dealing with alcoholism. Japan's health ministry warned of the dangers of excessive drinking. In a post on its website last year, it said excessive alcohol consumption was a major social problem that persisted despite a recent slowdown in consumption. It urged people with unhealthy drinking habits to reconsider their relationship with alcohol. A ministry spokeswoman did not respond to CNN's request for comment on the tax agency's competition. Japan, along with several other countries in Asia, kept strict restrictions throughout the pandemic, closing public spaces and reducing business hours for restaurants. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Izakayas Japan's version of a pub or tavern was particularly hard hit, with the latest available figures showing sales halved from 2019 to 2020. The ministry said that household consumption at home increased significantly with fewer opportunities to drink in public. Young adults have stood out as the exception. The ministry said that about 30% of people in their 40 s to 60 s drink regularly, meaning three days or more per week, compared to just 7.8% of people in their 20 s. Japan is open to travel. The ministry said that the decline in drinking habits could have an effect on the shrinking of the domestic market, as a result of the decline in drinking habits year by year. The tax agency said that duties on liquor had been a major revenue source for the government for centuries but had declined in recent decades. Japan received 1.1 trillion yen $8.1 billion in alcohol tax in 2021 - 1.7% of the overall tax revenue, compared to 3% in 2011 and 5% in 1980. Japan lifted its state of emergency in October 2021, allowing restaurants to sell alcohol again and stay open later in the country, but restrictions in some parts of the country remained in place until March this year. The country's recovery has been slower than expected, hampered by rising inflation, the economic impact of the war in Ukraine and recent surges in Covid cases that have led to prolonged restrictions.