Posts Tagged ‘savings’

Yearly statistics put recession into slightly better focus

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Here's your money: Bank of Japan

As the fiscal year draws to a close the relevant government ministries and agencies release their statistics for the previous calendar year. This week, the media mostly concentrated on a survey by the Bank of Japan that revealed a steep rise in the percentage of households (two or more people) with absolutely no financial assets, meaning no stocks, bonds, savings or annuities: 28.6 percent, 6.3 points higher than it was in 2010 and the highest it has ever been since 1963, when the BOJ started conducting this particular survey. Among the households that did have financial assets, the average amount per household was ¥11.5 million, or ¥190,000 less than in 2010. The reason cited by the BOJ is a loss of value in securities affected by market performance in response to the March 11 disaster and the European credit crisis. However, one aspect of the survey that tends to get overlooked in most news reports is that 8,000 questionnaires were sent out but only 47.5 percent were returned with responses, which means the number of households represented was less than 4,000.

For a bit more insight into the nation’s economic well-being, there’s the chingin kozo kihon tokei chosa, a survey conducted by the Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry to find out the situation with regards to salaries and wages. According to the results the average monthly pay of a full-time worker in Japan in 2011 was ¥296,800, which was 0.2 percent less than it was in 2010. Yearly salaries have been going down since 2008, when the average was ¥299,980. This amount includes basic wage plus any regular allowances but does not include overtime or bonuses. The ministry received responses from 45,818 firms, each of which has at least ten employees. Broken down a bit further, the average yearly pay for men was ¥328,300 (about the same as it was in 2010) and for women it was ¥231,900. That’s about 70 percent of men’s pay, but ten years ago women’s average pay was 60 percent of men’s.

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You too can be Hatoyama!

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Tell mom what you want for Christmas

Tell mom what you want for next Christmas

The government wants to increase the tax exemption on gifts that parents give to their children, so if your folks were inspired by the largesse of Yasuko Hatoyama to her three kids — one of whom is the prime minster and got into hot water because of that largesse — they’ll be able to give you up to ¥20 million tax free, if land minister Seiji Maehara gets his way.

According to the media, however, he may not get all he wants. Maehara is in charge of keeping the housing market humming, and following the Liberal Democratic Party’s lead last spring, when the former ruling party allowed tax exemptions for gifts of up to ¥6 million as long as they were spent to buy or improve residential housing, he wants to increase the exemption in the next budget.

Basically, the idea is that there is some ¥1,400 trillion not circulating in Japan, but rather just sitting in people’s bank accounts or in their mattresses (or, to put in Japanese terms, in the tansu, or wardrobe). About half of this dormant money is in the possession of Japan’s elderly. Normally, when these people die, the money goes to their offspring, who, in turn, just put it into their own back accounts or in their own wardrobes. Since people live quite long in Japan, their children usually are already settled with their own homes when their parents die. The LDP’s scheme was to persuade these older people to give some of their money to their kids (or grandkids) earlier, while they’re still alive, at a time when they are thinking of buying homes.

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