Japan has an unusual problem: the Japanese do not consume enough alcohol, which negatively affects the country’s tax revenue. According to the National Tax Administration (NTA), reported by the English newspaper The Guardian, alcohol consumption in Japan has fallen significantly from an average of 100 liters per capita (alcoholic beverages) in 1995 to 75 liters in 2020.
This hurts the Japanese budget, which already has a deficit of more than $354 billion. For this reason, the government has launched a national competition seeking suggestions to increase alcohol consumption. The contest, hosted by the NTA, called Sake Viva! , invites people between the ages of 20 and 39 to provide creative ideas for increasing alcohol consumption.
A number of factors have been blamed for this decline, including an aging population in Japan, the Covid-19 pandemic and declining interest in alcohol. According to the IRS, the share of tax revenue from alcohol products decreased from 5% of total tax revenue in 1980 to 1.7% in 2020.
The competition ends on September 9 and the winner is expected to be announced on November 10 in Tokyo. But the initiative has been met with a lot of criticism, with it feared that the government is promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.
Figures from the World Health Organization for 2018 show that per capita alcohol consumption (measured in pure alcohol) in Japan is 8 liters, much lower than in the United Kingdom (11.4 liters), but still much higher than in China (7 liters).
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