Record 63% of Japanese in financial stress, poll shows


Photo taken in Tokyo on March 31, 2022, shows a building that houses the Cabinet Office. (Kyodo)

Mar 31: A record 63.2 per cent of respondents said they do not feel financially secure in Japan and have a negative outlook on their future, a recent government survey showed.

The proportion of people who experienced financial stress in 2023 rose 0.7 percentage points from a year earlier against the backdrop of surging prices, according to the Cabinet Office poll.

The result was the worst since the question on reasons for being dissatisfied was added in 2008 to the survey which takes the public pulse on economic and social attitudes.

The latest poll was mailed to 3,000 people aged 18 or older, with valid responses being returned from 57.1 per cent.

Those who cited difficulties in child-rearing stood at 28.6 per cent, followed by 28.2 per cent saying it is hard for young people to be independent, according to the survey conducted between November and December.

The survey also found that 26.2 per cent feel it is difficult for women to play active roles in society, while 25.8 per cent said they are dissatisfied with their work environment.

Asked about the areas in which Japan is heading in a negative direction, price inflation accounted for the largest at 69.4 per cent while a significant percentage of people expressed concern over the economy.

In 2023, Japan's core consumer prices rose 3.1 per cent, marking the fastest pace of increase in 41 years. In contrast, real wages fell 2.5 per cent in the year for the second straight year of decline, as government data showed salary increases failed to keep pace with inflation.

A separate private-sector poll conducted in November showed that 46.1 per cent of regular workers from dual-income households in the world's fourth-largest economy said they are struggling financially.

The average annual household income for people on a tight budget was calculated to be 7.12 million yen ($47,000), compared with 8.78 million yen for households who are not under stress, according to the survey by recruitment information firm Mynavi Corp.

The online survey targeted female and male full-time workers aged 20 to 59, with 3,000 valid responses collected.

On the bright side, the Cabinet Office poll found that 25.1 per cent of respondents said medical and welfare services are heading in a better direction. Other areas which they said are improving included disaster prevention at 24.1 per cent and public security at 18.6 per cent. (KYODO)

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