40.3% of Japanese youth depend on parents for income: survey

By KK Miller

The world economy has taken a pretty big hit since 2007, and every country is doing what it can to recover. Some have been able to do better than others, but for most people, they haven’t gotten back to pre-crash numbers, whatever that may be.

While unemployment numbers have steadily decreased in the U.S., Japan has its own unique set of economic problems to deal with. With an unemployment rate sitting at 3.6% as of September, an entirely different sort of problem is rearing its ugly head here. What problems does unemployment cause? For that answer, we have to turn to the parents.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare asked a variety of questions to young Japanese between the ages of 15 and 34 to determine some details about the work force in Japan.

A shocking statistic revealed itself in the survey they called “Survey of Employment of Young People”. While many Japanese citizens in that range are employed, a lot of them consider themselves to have non-regular jobs, or temporary jobs. Temporary jobs include part-time jobs, contract employment, and any temporary work. Of these people, when asked what their main source of income was, 40.3% of them responded with “my parents’ income.”

That’s a startling number of people who don’t consider their employment to be paying them a livable wage. Of course, every person’s situation is different, but there is a lot to be concerned about when people aren’t able to live their daily lives with just their wages, suggesting that the minimum wage in Japan is too minimum. These results don’t offer enough concrete data to say one way or another though. Perhaps these part-time jobs are unable or unwilling to employ their workers for more hours in a week. It could also be that these young adults are choosing to work low hours and rely on their parents. But that is a whole different can of worms.

Another interesting aspect of employment in Japan that the survey revealed was regarding those with long-term employment. For example, of the respondents who consider themselves to have a regular income, 22.5% of them work more than 50 hours a week. That seems like a small number of people considering the “culture of working” in Japan. But then again, these are 15- to 34-year-olds, with almost half of that age range possibly still attending school.

This “culture of working” is such an ingrained stereotype of the average Japanese salary worker. But, how much overtime are they working? A question on the survey asked respondents if they put in more than 80 hours of overtime a month. On average that works out to be 3.2 hours of overtime a day which is where "karoshi" (death by overworking) occurs. A frightening 7.2% answered in the affirmative. That’s a fairly significant number of young adults that are working their youth away.

While people in other countries might focus on the overtime aspect of the survey, Japanese citizens will assuredly be more concerned with the number of youth unable to earn a decent wage. How bright can the economic future of Japan be when 40.3% of them can’t seem to earn enough to invest in their own future? It could be an incredibly important question for how well “Abenomics” is working. These part-time workers may have enough free time on their hands to influence government policy. That is, if their parents give them permission to go out on the weekend.

Source: My Game News Flash via bengoshi dot com news

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Under 50% of Workers in Japan Received Full Payment for Overtime According to Labor Survey -- Don’t like drinking with the boss? No Promotion For You -- Concern as Japan Sees an Increase in Solitary Non-Employed Persons (SNEPs)

© RocketNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

One issue that I see as a big problem here is that teenagers are often actively encouraged not to get part time jobs — no babysitting, yard work or McDonald's. Helicopter guardianship to the extreme.

Many (most?) high schools here require that students get special permission from the school faculty before they can get a part time job, and often have to humiliatingly prove financial necessity. Students who go through that process are often left with a sense of shame, not pride, at having to take on a job. (I voiced my opposition to this policy, but my view fell on the as-always deaf ears.)

From what I have been told by teaching staff, the logic is that the school would rather its students spend the time studying or in school-sanctioned activities. Also, schools are apparently concerned about the negative influences students might be exposed to working with adult-aged Taro the ne'er-do-well dishwasher at the local Denny's. The problem is, however, that this mentality encourages over-dependency, lack of initiative, and lack of entrepreneurial drive which many of these youth carry with them well into adulthood.

Also, most women and men in Japanese society have never spent time babysitting, and this lack of experience taking care of little ones becomes clear in many cases once they have children of their own.

12 ( +14 / -3 )

I would very much like to know a more detailed breakdown, say, ages 15-18 (high school ), 19-22 (college), 23-29, and 30-34.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Of course they will become dependent. This is what Japan is about, depend on useless overlords, be they bosses, senpai, shopping or something else. Young Japanese have very little yaruki, in my opinion. That, plus few future prospects (since few people dare took look outward, outside Japan) probably makes them give up early and hope for a cozy 9-21 job, creating Excel files and taking the 15 daily tobacco breaks.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I always wonder where all these people are. Most people I know have jobs and few have had any issues after 2008, the one thing that bothers people, amusingly, are the VAT "hikes".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

We need a detailed breakdown. On the surface, this data is laughably unremarkable.

Of course 15- and 18-year-olds are dependent on their parents.

And I wouldn't be surprised if most, if not all, middle and upper class college students (ages 19 to 22) are also dependent on their parents.

Add some graduate school to that or some job searching years, and you basically have a survey that says "high school and college students rely on their parents for financial support."

Forgive me for not having my mind blown...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The situation will be geting worse and worse. No hope for Japan both in Market and Politics. This is the result of follow the strategy of USA, and under the presure of China.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How does this compare to the past (say post-war)? Is this a historically relatively large or small number? Is the rate rising or falling? Context please!

1 ( +2 / -1 )


This is the current situation, what does it matter if it was different 20, 30, etc years ago.

People live in the now may it be pension, whatever. Worrying about trends don't but extra funds into the bank.

No-one knows what tomorrow brings.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Like some said before this survey needs a breakdown in more categories. 15 - 34. I was dependent on my parents income till 20-22 and that's quite normal for all countries if you are still in education. Most young people in Japan live with their parents till they get married, so I do wonder what they need so much money for? Shopping for brand items? A job starter in a common japanese comany will earn around 180.000 - 200.000 Yen per month, most can spend all the money for themselves and don't give any to their parents for food and lodging, like I did. So what they do with the money? Even with a part time job, you have enough money, if you still live with your parents, which the majority does.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

While unemployment numbers have steadily decreased in the U.S., Japan has its own unique set of economic problems to deal with.

Both US and Japan have lost plenty of jobs particularly in manufacturing. Since 2008, both nations lost a lot of white collars jobs. Both nations are losing competitiveness.

Unlike Japan, US is rich in natural resources. In the past, US depended the energy import from middle east. Due to Geo political risk, US has been diversifying for energy exploration in the homeland. US has crude oil and natural gas reserve. US has emergency petrol reserve too.

If US is getting momentum for shale gas export, it will overtake Saudi as leading energy exporting nation.

Unlike US, Japan has no reserve of energy or natural gas. Japan desperately needed good company like Google, Oracle and Apple. Japan population growth has stalled due to low birth rate and unemployed youth unmarried status. Japan is the land of setting Sun unless US is selling shale gas to Japan with special discount price. Saudi has been darling of US because it is selling US with special discount price.

As the ally, US is responsible for helping Japan energy needs during the hard time. It will help Japan economy and employments.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Of course needs to be split by age as an example most of my countries uouth tends to move out by 18(age of adults).

Thus uni students tend to live on their own or in shared communities, common in many countries.

Culture and customs do impact statistics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With an unemployment rate sitting at 3.6% as of September,

Here it goes again with playing with the real numbers. Figure out for yourselves which is accurate, Japan only uses number 5 on this list, which other developed nations using basically all these figures to accurate access the true unemployment rate.

1)Long-Term Unemployment--Rate of those out of work for 13 weeks or longer 2)Separation Rate--Rate of those who lost their jobs 3)Adult Unemployment--Rate of the unemployed over age 25 measured against the labor force over 25 4)Full-Time Unemployment--Rate of unemployed seeking full-time employment measured against those employed full-time 5)Publicly Announced Unemployment--Rate of unemployed measured against those employed 6)Part-Time Unemployment--Rate of unemployed including those seeking part-time jobs for financial reasons 7)Discouraged Workers--Rate of unemployed including those dis- couraged in seeking employment and who lost motivation to look for a job

The real number, if taking the others in account is closer to triple the number given here, or meaning closer to 9%, which I for one would really believe.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So don't the Japanese have a high university graduation ratio ?

If so then so much for getting a degree, seems these guys are still in low paying jobs with their high education , guess a degree in artsy fartsy BS or thoese other silly degrees that have no real world meaning doesn't work in the real world after all.

Some have no real motivation to work properly too and are quite happy to live off mommy n daddy these days. Losers.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

40% of the survey respondents are probably still of school age. That's a weird age bracket - 15 and 34 is a totally different stage of life!

If most of the 15-25 year olds are dependent on their parents, well, OK. that's normal. But 30? Not so typical.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese only work an average of 3.2 hours overtime a day begs use they get paid extra for those hours spent shuffling paper.

I bet that in the U.K where unpaid overtime is common, they'd be be on that train home as soon as the clock struck five.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is very good that we're getting survey results... but like other posters wrote, the real data for young working age adults would be roughly from the age 20 to 32. Now... if 40% of them were relying on their parents... then Japan would be in an extremely sad state of affairs and you could forget believing an unemployment rate of 3.6%.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's normal for college students to not have enough free time to earn their living expenses. In Japan it's expected your parents will support you until you become "shakaijin" and get a full-time job. As others have pointed out it's not the norm for high school students to be self-sufficient and paying all their living expenses even if they do have a part-time job.

This study would be more interesting if they looked at a narrower and older age group, college graduates--say 22-year olds--to 30 year olds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The commenters here wondering why there isn't more of a breakdown by age can't see the forest for the trees. How well do you really know Japan? Of course someone in their late teens to early twenties is going to be somewhat dependent on their parents.

The elephant in the room is, there is a massive portion of full-time workers in their 30s and even 40s who still live with their parents. I can't think of another country where it is prevalent to such an extent that it's basically considered a societal norm. Some may harp the 'wait till marriage' tune, but there's a significant percentage of people within this group who have no plans to 'meet someone', nor consider marriage.

The point I'm trying to get at is, this same group are happy to truck along with the situation as is. They pay taxes, but their parents are the ones who do all the cooking, cleaning & laundry. I firmly believe that this is one key factor in the declining population problem.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Headline is misleading. It's basically "40.3% of the Japanese population between the ages of 15-34 who are 'temp' workers depend on parent's income".

The overall number is 24.9%. 18.8% for males under that age category.

However, the ratio of those living with their parents are high at 47.6% overall.

Here it goes again with playing with the real numbers. Figure out for yourselves which is accurate, Japan only uses number 5 on this list, which other developed nations using basically all these figures to accurate access the true unemployment rate.

Not quite.

Also, you might want to look into the employment rate compiled by OECD.

Among the 'male population' between '25-54' (Prime Age), Japanese male's have the second highest among OECD.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

In five more years, the ratio of part time workers will increase to 50 percent, up substantially from today. They will make even less money to support themselves and depend on their parents handouts. The Japanese government doesn’t seem to realize that these workers are also consumers. These part time workers won’t be able to get a mortgage loans because they don’t earn enough to qualify for a mortgage and buy a house. The income gap in Japan between rich and poor will widen further and it is driving away the middle class that has been supporting the economy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese youth tend to enter cilleges, even after Ronin, USA youth -many drop out from HS.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The elephant in the room is, there is a massive portion of full-time workers in their 30s and even 40s who still live with their parents. I can't think of another country where it is prevalent to such an extent that it's basically considered a societal norm.

It's common for single people in a lot of Asian countries to do this. Most people over here that I know find it strange that most young people in the west move out on their own and saddle themselves with debt as soon as humanly possible.

Nothing wrong with single people living with their family.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites