“Drink more booze” Japan urges youth with new contest

Japan’s alcohol sales have gone way down since Covid-19 restrictions, and the government is desperate to bring them up again.

Numbers show that Japan’s young drink quite significantly less than its old. While about 30% of people in their 40s to 60s drink regularly, only 7.8% of people in their 20s do. Meanwhile, sales at Japan’s pubs were cut in half from 2019 to 2020, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

The government is now launching a contest for young people to submit ideas on how to best market booze to their generation. The contest is titled the “Sake Viva!” campaign. It is open to individuals or groups 20-39 years old. Submissions are due on September 9.

Youngsters can submit ideas to up the demand for booze from youth through new services, promotional methods, products, designs, and even sales techniques using artificial intelligence or the metaverse, according to the competition’s website.

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The contest has drawn its share of controversy. Some have pointed out that in the past, Japan’s government encouraged people to drink responsibly, or abstain from alcohol. Last year, the Health Ministry called heavy drinking a “major social problem.”

One Japanese journalist, Karyn Nishi, wrote on Twitter that Japan was going in the opposite direction than other developed countries, by considering it a negative thing that young people aren’t drinking. A translation of his tweet reads “It cannot be ignored that alcohol is dangerous.”

Time will tell if the Sake Viva contest turns out to be popular among Japanese youth.


World News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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