A campaign by Japan’s tax agency to prop up alcohol revenue by encouraging young people to drink up has met fierce backlash on social media, with users criticizing the taxman for dictating people’s lifestyle choices.

The National Tax Agency’s "Sake Viva!” idea competition, which is seeking business plans from young people or groups to help "revitalize” the nation’s liquor industry, was launched in July and gained traction on Twitter this week after local and overseas media outlets reported the move.

Brewers in the country have struggled to halt a decline in alcohol sales due to more health-conscious consumers, an aging society and changing tastes among the young. A sharp fall in alcohol sales at restaurants and bars during the COVID-19 pandemic has seen producers resort to promoting more low-alcohol products, while rising inflation is further squeezing profits.