Posts Tagged ‘survey’

Cost of education a drag on the economy

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Save it for later: Japan Post's school expenses insurance plan

A survey carried out by the Japan Finance Corporation has been getting a lot of attention in the media this past week. JFC asked 5,400 households that receive government education loans about the amount of money they spend on education for their children. The respondents on average answered that they have spent 37.6 percent of their income on education in 2010. The average percentage in 2009 was 33.7.

One of the reasons for the percentage rise is that household incomes themselves have dropped, from an average ¥5.92 million in 2009 to ¥5.72 million this year. What’s particularly shocking is that the burden rises considerably as household income drops. For households making between ¥2 million and ¥4 million a year, education costs account for an average 56.5 percent of household incomes. Last year it was 48.3 percent.

The JFC says that tuition, textbook prices and transportation costs to and from school have gone up in the last year. The average student in 2010 will spend ¥10.6 million from the point he or she sits for a high school entrance exam until university graduation. That’s an increase of ¥520,000 over the average in 2009.

Respondents said they are cutting back on other expenses in order to cover education costs, with 63 percent saying they have reduced spending on leisure and travel, 51 percent forgoing eating out and 41 percent eliminating “pocket money” (kozukai) for the adults in the family. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan, of course, made public high schools tuition-free last spring, one of the few campaign pledges they’ve kept so far, but education remains a serious drag on household spending and, by extension, on the economy as a whole.

Education is a huge industry in Japan but the trickle-down benefits aren’t very clear. However, the benefits to education executives are clear and can be understood by that recent scandal involving Teikyo University, whose late chancellor, Shoichi Okinaga, was found to have stashed a cool ¥1.5 billion in a bank in Liechtenstein without telling Japanese tax authorities. Obviously, the education biz is good for some people.

New recruits quickly get reality checked

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The survey doesn't ask how new grads feel about wearing cheap suits

The survey doesn’t ask how new grads feel about wearing cheap suits

Nihon Seisansei Honbu, a research center that specializes in productivity, has carried out a survey since 1991 among recent college graduates who have entered the work force. They hand out the questionnaires twice a year, once in the spring just as new grads are starting work in their shiny new suits, and a second time six months later after the same shakaijin (members of society, which is what you are called once you actually enter the work force) have had a chance to see what the working life is all about.

In 2006 the survey started including a statement that went something like “I don’t need more money than others my age as long as I am making enough to live on.” Last spring, only 36.2 percent of those surveyed gave an affirmative response to this statement, but six months later the percentage rose to 41.7 percent, the highest it’s ever been. Granted, negative responses were higher, 52.9 percent, but Asahi Shimbun, for one, analyzed these results as meaning that the longer these people were on the job, the more they realized how precarious their situation was. Being employed wasn’t a guarantee.

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