Survey shows record 63% of Japanese are in financial stress

A recent government survey showed that a record 63.2 percent of respondents said they do not feel financially secure in Japan and have a negative view of their future.

The proportion of people expected to experience financial stress in 2023 rose by 0.7 percentage points from a year earlier against a backdrop of rising prices, according to a Cabinet Office survey.

The result was the worst since a question on reasons for dissatisfaction was added to the 2008 survey which takes the pulse of the public on economic and social attitudes.

A photo taken in Tokyo on March 31, 2022 shows a building that houses the Cabinet Office. (kyodo)

The latest survey was mailed to 3,000 people age 18 or older, with valid responses from 57.1 percent.

According to the survey conducted between November and December, the number of people who cited difficulties in raising children was 28.6 percent, followed by 28.2 percent who said it was difficult for youngsters to be independent.

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

When asked which areas Japan is heading in a negative direction, price inflation is the biggest at 69.4 percent, while a significant percentage of people expressed concern over the economy.

In 2023, Japan's core consumer prices are projected to rise 3.1 percent, the fastest pace of increase in 41 years. In contrast, real wages fell by 2.5 percent, the second consecutive year of decline, as government data showed that wage growth failed to keep pace with inflation.

A separate private sector survey conducted in November showed that 46.1 percent of regular workers from dual-income families in the world's fourth-largest economy said they were struggling financially.

The average annual household income for those on a tight budget is estimated at 7.12 million yen ($47,000), while those who are not stressed have an average annual income of 8.78 million yen, according to a survey by recruitment information firm Mainavi 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 survey found that 25.1 per cent of respondents said medical and welfare services were moving in a better direction. Other areas that are improving include disaster prevention at 24.1 percent and public safety at 18.6 percent, he said.

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