business

Cup noodles and chocolates keep Abenomics' pulse beating

37 Comments
By Kazunori Takada and Ritsuko Shimizu

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I really have no idea what this article is about? To laud the sales of low priced chocolate and freeze dried noodles as being some sort of beneficiary of a doomed non starter economic flop,,,,,,,perhaps?

19 ( +22 / -3 )

Cup noodles and chocolates keep Abenomics' pulse beating,

Oh my. Haven't we come a long way from "the Cold War is over, and Japan won."

15 ( +19 / -4 )

I think the SMBC analyst's logic is inverted. Sales of more expensive ramen are up. So what? So maybe instead of 100 yen they spent 108 yen? Perhaps people who previously went to a restaurant and spent 1000 yen downgraded to 108 yen ramen. That would be a driver of LESS private consumption. Need to look at the big picture, not ramen sales in isolation. To consider ramen as luxury spending is quite absurd.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Not a very informative article... (the problems with Japan are structural, *not cyclical). I learn more from some of the better comments than from articles like this.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Last week, Bank of Japan board member Yutaka Harada defended the central bank’s massive stimulus program, saying the strong part-time job market was helping underpin household income.

Read this as "Slave labor is forcing people to work PT jobs to SURVIVE!" There is no way a PT labor force can support the economy for any extended period of time as PT workers do not make enough money to purchase the durable goods necessary to actually move the economy forward.

Oh and just how much of this "massive" stimulus is going to trickle down to those PT workers busting their tails to make ends meet?

10 ( +14 / -4 )

The reason Cup noodles are so popular is because people don't have enough money to eat properly. Just take a look at what is in people's basket at supermarkets. Not sure about the chocolate though- must be comfort food, although I won't buy overpriced and thin bars of chocolate any more.

Shiboritate's post says it all.- This is not totally related to this subject, but perhaps Japan Today could do a story that we have just read about the OECD article and the amount of welfare help in Japan in relation to other country's GDP. It has been put out by the nichibenren.org.jp (Japanese lawyer group )

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Good comments!

"Not sure about the chocolate though"

In hard times, people tend to splurge on 'luxury' home and food items they can afford. Things like potpourri, expensive chocolates, a nice bottle of beer. Top quality ramen, etc.

This way, people feel as if they are enjoying at least some of the good things life has to offer.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Chocolate and instant ramen arrows?

Is this really what Abenomics looks like?

And "25 years in Japan" is right. If you don't have the money to buy a "regular" ramen you are stuck with "the cup".

9 ( +11 / -2 )

JT headline, 10 years down into the future .....

Bartering for rat-on-a-stick , shows Abenomics is working

9 ( +14 / -5 )

upmarket noodles

We are in dire straits when we can label poverty food as "upmarket."

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Yeah, the economy is balanced on cheap meals and comfort food. Japan is doomed!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I used to enjoy a Kit-Kat after work, but they have gotten so small I stopped buying them. (Though the package is the same size) Well, cutting back on cheap chocolates is good for my waistline.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If all you can afford to eat is a cheap cup of instant ramen, then you might as well "spoil yourself" and get the one with extra "meat". I'd hardly say this is the effect of a bustling economy.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

NHK had a story the other night about how Takashimaya department store have set up a section for high-end watches and the store manager said sales had doubled. NHK interviewed one guy who looked to be in his late 20s or early 30s and he said he had come to buy an 800,000 yen watch.

There seems to be a class of super wealthy Japanese whom have never been affected by any recession. I've been in the lobbies of a few 5-star hotels in recent weeks, and they have been full with people (mostly women) enjoying the 5,000-yen afternoon teas.

So I guess there is a huge and growing gap between the super wealthy and the "average" Japanese shopping for bargains at the local supermarkets.

Where is the well-off middle class?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Which Abe fanboy wrote this waste of digital ink?

So in yet another recessionary period we're to remain hopeful because cup noodles and chocolate sales are up, and because of a 1.5% increase in part time wages??

Must be happy pizza day at JT.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

[C]onsumers’ taste for upmarket noodles and pricier chocolates suggests some pockets of resilience, and some hope for Abenomics, the reflationary policies championed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The saddest sentence I think I've ever read. The authors-- and anyone else who believes this incredible, almost science fiction-like view of why Everything is secretly great! You just don't understand! The LDP has a plan and is in complete control of the future!-- are delusional to the extent they really need to seek professional counseling before they harm themselves and Japan further by contributing more nonsense to an already untenable situation.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I just got my laugh for the day — referring to Cup Noodles 'upmarket' sounds like it came right out of The Onion.

Really? Upmarket? Splurging an extra Y8 for the Y108 luxury instant noodles, living the Japanese dream. Now there is a sign that the economy is picking up and the people of Japan are living in the lap of luxury (sarcasm alert). This is more a sign of a "let them eat cake" mentality among the SMBC Nikko Securities analysts who cater to the top 10%, and the degree of callousness that has developed in recent years as the gap between the rich and the poor widens.

And by the way, I go to the grocery store regularly, and invariably see no shortage of other shoppers with shopping baskets identical to the one in this picture buying the night's 'dinner.'

7 ( +9 / -2 )

"Part-timers’ hourly wages hit record highs for a fourth straight month in September, data from private-sector agency Recruit Jobs showed, with pay rising 1.5% in big cities."

Wow, so part timer wages increased a whopping 10 yen or so an hour in Tokyo and Osaka - no wonder they are fuelling the luxury chocolate and ramen boom. Seriously but, so people are buying more 250 yen chocolate bars? Maybe because they stopped buying 500 yen cakes at cafes and are" treating" themselves with chocolate bars instead...ditto for eating "value added "cups of noodles instead of a proper ramen at a restaurant.

Kozo Yamamoto, a ruling party lawmaker and one of the architects of Abenomics, told Reuters on Monday that the latest GDP data “was a bit shocking” At least this guy publicly admits the obvious while others continue to lie through their teeth in order to keep the govt. line.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If you say "Abe" or "Abenomics" in the title you will guarantee to close to 100 or more comments on this site.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This is just propaganda, smells of Abe putting out a press release to say not everything is bad, people still buy chocolate!?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Rock bottom. And if they're pointing to Cup Noodles and chocolate to point out that "Abenomics is a success" it only means that we'll be crushed by health care costs in the near future, never mind when everyone's retired and there's no one to replace them.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Remember when Delta used to give out cupnoodles for snack time on flights. The smell made me gag. How can people with such an exquisite taste culture allow people to eat that junk?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The statements by those in the Cabinet and pro-Abenomics financial analysts reek of desperation. Not about their finances but an effort to convince the working class Japanese that they have one whit of concern about their welfare. This article is ripe for submission to a website idea I've been thinking of which would catalog pieces like this and have readers vote: Actual article in Mainstream Press or Onion article?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Going by the shopping baskets I see daily, especialy in the months following the tax hike, late night discount meals & cup ramen are the meals of choice for most. We saw similar articles across the world post-GFC, anyway. People have no money & "splurge" on the occasional chocolate to feel better. Can't believe I'm writing this about a supposedly developed country in 2015.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

How is this portrayed as a "positive"?!?

This is simply a classic statistics trick to fool the people who are not in the know. What they did is divide a category (cup noodles) to two sub-categories (standard vs. value-added) to get some type of a "positive" result only on one of the sub-categories (without telling us if there were other sub-categories, like say, gourme that was left out).

Then, what's worse, is that these "value-added" noodles are 8% more expensive, and the article claims that a 10% increase in sales is something good. Were sales measured as revenue? I bet they were... Yeah... wow.

But hey, all is well! Nothing to see here! Go back to your homes!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"Discount items keep Abenomics' pulse beating"

For the second time in a year, Japan’s economy has slipped into recession, but consumers’ taste for upmarket discounts items suggests some pockets of resilience.

Yeah, this is how ridiculous the current article sounds to me. Somebody has been completly oblivious of the impact of this 'rise in sales' and then wonder why the economy is doing so poor.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is incorrect to describe cup meals as "upmarket": they are the kind of thing eaten by the homeless and poor. If people had enough money they would eat a proper meal instead, but Abenomics has ensured that they don't.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Congratulations PM Abe on your success. Admirable accomplishment.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm not sure about Abenomics, but Cup Noodles have been keeping MY pulse beating for a while now.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm not sure about Abenomics, but Cup Noodles have been keeping MY pulse beating for a while now.

That'll be the delicious MSG.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

That was a painful read..........staggering to get myself an extra strength Tylenol!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Wow, the limit of this abe's success. Let them eat cup noodles and chocolate.

What a poor article this is. Written by an abe supporter or an apologist.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

the two japanese reporters need to take a class on economics. this is a race to the bottom, so the average tanaka is "splurging" on instant ramen and chocolate bars to make them feel better about their dead-end part time jobs.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is simply a classic statistics trick to fool the people who are not in the know. What they did is divide a category (cup noodles) to two sub-categories (standard vs. value-added) to get some type of a "positive" result only on one of the sub-categories (without telling us if there were other sub-categories, like say, gourme that was left out).

Jack, if I may add to your excellent point above, they're also massaging the statistics by choosing very specific subsets of these products. Chocolate priced at 50 to 99 yen might include a wide range (though smaller than before, because lots of 98 or 99 yen items now cost 100 to 103 and are thus outside), but look at the market they have deemed "luxury": 250 to 259 yen.

That is a very tiny slice: a price range of less than 4%. I wouldn't be surprised if that's one specific major brand alone. Go to the supermarket and see how many kinds of chocolates fall into that range; I'll wait. ... See, it doesn't include the 300-yen upmarket chocolates; it doesn't include the sub-200 yen brands like Bacchus (why is this not sold year-round?). What does it include? I can't remember the last time I bought chocolate with so specific a price.

Abenomics is great for the top 1-5% of society. Everybody else, including those who aspire to become richer but now find that much harder than it once was -- the people putting savings in the bank, buying food for their kids, saving for a home -- is getting worse off every month.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

ThonTaddeo, yep, great post. Cherry-picking sales of a selected price range of a specific product to try and show that Abe is a genius after all. It really is clutching at straws to try and say that people eating cheap instant crap in higher numbers in a specific price range is somehow proof of things being good.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Cup noodles and chocolates keep Abenomics' pulse beating

As many others have pointed out, this is simply clutching at straws, and really points once again to the structural weknesses of the Japanese economy. Young people there do not have enough confidence in the future, or income, to be getting married, and making big investments, like cars and/or homes, so people are rejoicing because they spend a few more yen on cheap noodles and chocolate. Desperationhas truly set in.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

i think the blame is not entirely on Abe, although he should bear some responsibilities and failures from his part as a leader. the third arrow was missing, as some or most of its key areas is 'foreign' or 'foreigners' related. the fear (and uncertainty) of the outside is well and alive in society and govn't policies are nothing more than the reflection of what happens in the society at large.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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