business

Panic buying slows Japan's household spending decline

25 Comments
By Leika Kihara

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© Thomson Reuters 2020.

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The Japanese governments hanging on to their Olympics dream, being lax in their early tone towards its citizens, and then doing an abrupt about-face certainly contributed to fueling whatever panic exists now.

Regarding maintaining preparedness, its not really easy in urban Japan. My wife and I spend more than half the year in the USA and really didn't have to do much shopping when the panic buying started here. And when it hit, make no mistake about it, it was PANIC buying. Amazing amount of stupid purchases and animalistic frenzy.

I hate shopping so I will usually buy excess of what we use on a regular basis just to avoid frequent trips. Living in California (which is up there in terms of disaster potential), I do prep to the extent that we are able store things in our garage -- just in case. We don't hoard, but we have extra food that we simply use, rotate and replace. Unless one lives in the countryside, this is really tough to do in Japan where we shop on more of a daily basis. And large packages of anything are rare, except for Costco.

So I can understand why people freak out being thrust into unchartered waters. Lastly, consider the older generation in Japan. Many of these folks (including members our family) still have memories of post-war Japan which they have shared with us. Pretty grim times, to say the least.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even if they tripled the pledged assistance, assuredly they’d manage to make a meal of it. To ensure that as few people as possible qualify and outdoing even themselves in hypocritical parsimony, they’ve taken cynicism to the next level and restricted it to households, thereby knowingly excluding millions of deserving individuals who elsewhere would not have had to put up with such a charade but could rightly have expected some unbegrudged financial help.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Today we bought rice, white and brown. Pasta, Spaghetti. And a few packs of Soba Noodles. Flour for bread making. Good for a month.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It’s only going to get worse.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wanted to panic buy a 5 kg bag of my favorite rice but it was already gone. Bought a pack of pasta instead.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan gets less USD via exports each year; thus, its companies must offshore to acquire the dollars at the cost of political vulnerability. This means that authoritarian countries like China can get whatever they want from Japanese companies and politicians. Even with the power of multinational corporations, Japan still can't solve the economic decline.

Well, said.

Now, the postponement of Olympics 2020 makes the whole thing even worse. I expect the spending decline will become eternal

You should also expect a tax hike to with that as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Funny thing is my net auction listings are doing better than usual. I guess people are stuck at home doing online shopping.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese household spending decline had been going since 1980. The Japanese assets bubble crash permanently damaged the Japanese purchasing power. This lies in the negatively ever-inflating (deflating) Yen through each year. Japan gets less USD via exports each year; thus, its companies must offshore to acquire the dollars at the cost of political vulnerability. This means that authoritarian countries like China can get whatever they want from Japanese companies and politicians. Even with the power of multinational corporations, Japan still can't solve the economic decline.

Now, the postponement of Olympics 2020 makes the whole thing even worse. I expect the spending decline will become eternal

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This should be a lesson to all of us, we should never depend on China a country that lacks transparency

Richard Nixon

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As the disease bites the economic impact will get worse. Let’s not forget the dire economic impact yet to come after the pandemic when the world has to live with the knock on effects of the inconceivable amounts of debt governments are creating to “boost” their economies at the moment.

This should be a lesson to all of us, we should never depend on China a country that lacks transparency and is not willing to be open and honest about most things. There are other countries that gives us more respect in countries where we can work with where the partnership is transparent and wants to be a fair geopolitical ally or we can take our chances with the status quo once again and take a gamble with China. But overall you’re right the economic impact will be from us, but it is manageable, as most people want to go back to work and that will help revitalize economy, we need that type of spirit, this is what makes our country great, won’t be easy by a long shot, but have to try.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Call it being selfish and NOT panic buying, please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What better way to up sales - there is a pandemic but do not worry there is enough food and toiletries for everyone

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You'd think one of of the positives to come from this virus is that human society re-evaluate what's really important.

Seems it's not going to happen.

Media and politicians still obsessed with how MUCH we spend!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Mate,the alcohol stay is sold out everywhere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

re:tamanegiToday 04:28 pm JST

It wasn't panic buying in the tamanegi household it was called prepping in February and March.

Well readers, guess we met one of the honest hoarders who doesn't know the meaning of panic buying, hoarding and prepping. A prepper does not wait until the issue is ongoing but rather prepares way ahead of an event. A hoarder buys more than what is needed and is selfish about the needs of others. A panicker is one who goes with the flow and just grabs what they can during the hottest point of an event.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

As the disease bites the economic impact will get worse. Let’s not forget the dire economic impact yet to come after the pandemic when the world has to live with the knock on effects of the inconceivable amounts of debt governments are creating to “boost” their economies at the moment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wait, I thought Japanese people always got a gold star for their "think of the group, not yourself" mentality. Another stereotype squashed.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Panic buying slows Japan's household spending decline

No panic buying in Kanagawa

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Im sure there are people kicking themselves in the rear on Wall St. thinking if only I would have invested in these masks. But all jokes aside, from Japan to Europe and the US, this should be a lesson to never put all your eggs in one basket and the world di that with China, the more people can make the things China makes at a better quality that reduces the worlds independence on that country.

Your beloved capitalist free market is why China is the world’s factory. Are you saying we should go against free market capitalism because that’s the only way to achieve what you suggest.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Back on topic please.

Yeah, but look on the bright side. When the pandemic subsides, we'll be able to buy tissue and masks again. If we survive... Invalid CSRF

Im sure there are people kicking themselves in the rear on Wall St. thinking if only I would have invested in these masks. But all jokes aside, from Japan to Europe and the US, this should be a lesson to never put all your eggs in one basket and the world di that with China, the more people can make the things China makes at a better quality that reduces the worlds independence on that country.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

It wasn't panic buying in the tamanegi household it was called prepping in February and March.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Yeah, but look on the bright side. When the pandemic subsides, we'll be able to buy tissue and masks again. If we survive... Invalid CSRF

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yeah, I would say, it’s not looking that good.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yeah, until things are sold-out, and we can't go out. Not to worry, though; the small amount of spending on staple foods and what not will be VERY quickly eclipsed by the losses on travel, tourism in general, hotels, and other related industries as well as entertainment.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

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