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Japan is asking its young people to drink more booze

The government has launched a campaign to kickstart drinking alcohol among younger generations – and save the country’s sake industry

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Get this: the Japanese government wants young people to drink more alcohol, not less. That’s right: faced with younger generations that drink much, much less than older ones (a whopping 25 percent less, in fact), the country wants to kickstart boozing amongst its youth.

So why is Japan desperate to get its young ’uns back on the booze, especially when drinking alcohol is – usually – considered a rather unhealthy lifestyle choice? Well, in short, it’s all about the economy.

Japanese sake (rice wine) is very big industry in Japan. It’s both a huge source of employment and a significant contributor to tax revenue, so the government wants to ensure that it survives.

In order to get the youth drinking, the government has set up a campaign called Sake Viva. Essentially a national competition, the campaign is asking Japanese people aged between 20 and 39 to come up with ways to increase sales of not just Japanese sake but also beer, wine, shochu and whisky.

Sake Viva has suggested that competition entrants focus on stuff like branding, marketing, promotions and even technological innovations like AI. Competitors have until September to submit their pitches, with the final round of judging taking place in November.

Of course, it’s worth noting that when we talk about ‘young people’ in Japan, we mean people over the Japanese legal drinking age. It’s illegal for anyone under 20 years old in Japan to drink alcohol or smoke tobacco.

If you’ve got a decent in-browser translator, you can find out more about the campaign on the official Sake Viva website here.

And if you’d like to lend Japan a hand by increasing your own personal level of sake consumption, we can absolutely endorse that too.

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