|Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, in the Diet, the lower house of parliament, Tokyo, Nov 20, 2013
The share of Japanese households with no financial assets
are at the highest since at least 1963, despite the policy of Abenomics, that
was launched earlier this year by Shinzo Abe, Japan's new prime minister,
with a 3-arrow targeting: a massive fiscal stimulus, more aggressive monetary
easing from the Bank of Japan, and structural reforms to boost Japan's
Abe is seeking to end a decade and a half of
deflation and while prices have risen because of rising energy costs, regular
wages excluding overtime and bonuses fell 0.3% in September from a year earlier
- - a 16th straight drop.
The Nikkei, Japan's business newspaper, reported
that the Bank of Japan's Survey of Household Finances for 2013 shows that the average
balance of assets held by households of at least two family members and
excluding deposits and savings for everyday spending, fell slightly compared
with last year despite a weaker yen and a jump in share prices.
The survey found that 31% of households with two or more family members do not
own financial assets, up 5 percentage points from the previous year. The ratio
is the highest since the BOJ began releasing the data in 1963. The ratio of
single-person households with no financial assets also rose to 37.2% from 33.8%
recorded in 2012.
The Nikkei said that when the ratio of zero-asset households hit 28.6% in 2011, a record high at that
time, it was thought that the result reflected a delay in the survey period. The
survey normally takes place in the June-July period, when summer bonuses are
paid, but in 2011, it was pushed back to the October-November period due to the
Great East Japan Earthquake of March that year. In 2012, the survey period
returned to normal, and the ratio of households without financial assets fell to
Nearly 40% of survey respondents said the balance of their financial assets
decreased because their regular incomes had fallen. Nondiscretionary spending,
such as children's education costs and life events like wedding ceremonies, were
also cited as a reason for a decline in financial assets by 33% of all the
respondents, up sharply from 26.2% recorded in 2012.
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