Japan’s government is asking 20- to 39-year-olds for ideas to make alcohol more popular amid declining consumption – and tax revenues.

The country’s tax agency has launched a business contest – dubbed Sake Viva! – asking people in that age group to pitch ideas.

Those interested in applying have until 9 September to submit their suggestions. The contest will take place in November.

Japan’s alcohol industry has long seen its domestic market mature amid an ageing population. However, the country’s younger legal-age consumers are also drinking less than their parents. According to government data, alcohol consumption in Japan fell from an average of 100 litres a person a year in 1995 to 75 litres in 2020.

In a statement announcing the contest, Japan’s tax office said the push was one of the ways in which it is trying to “respond to structural issues in the alcoholic beverage industry”.

The country’s government is also “accelerating export promotion measures” to boost sales of Japanese alcoholic products overseas.

A “medium- to long-term management policy” strategy document published by Asahi Group Holdings, one of Japan’s largest beverage-alcohol companies, indicates the concerns the industry has as it weighs up its prospects.

Among the “mega-trends” Asahi believes will shape its business strategy is “health consciousness and headwinds from alcohol-related issues”. The Asahi Super Dry maker – which generated JPY722.1bn (US$5,28bn) in revenue from alcohol in 2021 (from a group total of JPY2.24trn) – says it would look to “new product propositions fusing our technology in alcohol beverages and non-alcohol beverages, and conducting R&D into, and cultivating, alternatives to alcohol products”.

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