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Japan's salarymen still feel pinch despite Abenomics

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The adverse effects of "Abenomics" have yet to be felt. By then, Shinzo Abe might not be there anymore to take the responsibilities.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Prices go up, taxes go up, wages remain stagnant. No mystery here. The little guy always get pinched. Trickle down economics does not work. It is simply the illusion the big business uses to get what they want.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Prices AND wages have dropped since the 1980s. Perhaps the writer could actually compare the cost of things instead of just playing with numbers?

Not sure why it is just the salarymen feeling the pinch. Women and children are as well.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Funny but I have seen prices on computer related items and consumables slowing going up in prices since last summer which was months before the Yen started its nose dive. Personally, I want prices to stay low and no, I don't put off buying something because I expect prices will be lower next month. That happens only to products that get replaced with new and hopefully improved versions. Consumables such as printer inks, paper and label maker tape cassettes, who living in Japan hasn't caught the labeling everything craze? :)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

While deflation is apparently good for individuals, it is bad for the economy as a whole because it encourages shoppers to put off purchases in the knowledge the same product will cost less next month.

This is poor economics, something economists are finally getting to realize.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

" While deflation is apparently good for individuals, it is bad for the economy as a whole because it encourages shoppers to put off purchases in the knowledge the same product will cost less next month."

That's a load of crap and has been proven false countless times. It's only Keynesians who regurgitate that same tripe over and over.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Abenomics is specially designed for that...i.e. Comfort to big businesses and Discomfort to salarymen..OL and consumers in general !

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I was actually having a few of these conversation with my married colleagues this past month or two, and I couldn't believe that they would give their entire monthly salary to their wife, who would then give them about 30,000 yen to spend on food, drinking, cigarettes, hobbies, etc. What the hell?!

Coming form Australia, if my wife didn't work, the last thing in the world I would do would be to give my entire salary to her and get $300 back for lunch for a month..

There was one guy who didn't even know how much the two of them had in accumulated savings, and one guy who didn't even have a personal bank account.. Incredibly sad but bewildering..

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They should force their wives to give them more...........

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

dcog9065, this is just the culture here. We come from a culture where the man is the bread-winner and the controller of the finances (or if you both work, then it is a joint decision making process). Japan is a society where the women are expected to handle the finances. Guys do not want to think about budgeting or knowing how much the gas bill was; so they let the wife handle it.

It may seem sad to you, but it is what they are used to, and expect. Just be sure that if you are dating a Japanese partner, you should let them know early on that you will not be following that model - otherwise there could be problems down the track.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Incredibly sad but bewildering..

And normal here. Many wives have a secret account that their husband's don't even know about. Why any man would agree to have over his pay to a wife who doesn't make money of her own in beyond me. Heck, working or not, there is no handing over of money. Doesn't help that Japan doesn't really have joint accounts either.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

True, but it doesn't really seem like much of an incentive for the guy if he's essentially facing a 95% income tax per month.

I understand that it's the whole masculine thing to do here to provide for your wife, but it's just not realistic considering how expensive Tokyo is. On top of that, I assume the wife will quit her part time job once she's getting the cash and just drink wine all day or whatever.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

afanofjapan , your so right, now I am one of those statistics. My ex wife, now you can see why. Control of the money was one, ok not all of the problems ,but a big factor. But thats the way its in Japan and the men accept that part of the japanese marriage culture. On the other side of the coin if they get divorced they don't have any rights in the Family Court System. Maybe now, thats why there is so many single men here in Japan??

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Aaaw poor widdle sawawymen. Now they're reduced to one soapland visit and two snack bars a month.

Try scraping by on an English teacher's income: No pension, no health insurance, yearly contracts, no job security, no steady salary, no rights (or few resources to pursue those rights) if you suddenly get laid off.

Yeah I'm sure those salarymen are just starving.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

" While deflation is apparently good for individuals, it is bad for the economy as a whole because it encourages shoppers to put off purchases in the knowledge the same product will cost less next month."

Yeah, food is part of the budget, so I just don't eat until the prices come down more...oh wait food costs have been going up this year.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Guys do not want to think about budgeting or knowing how much the gas bill was; so they let the wife handle it. It may seem sad to you

What's sad about it? You put 100% into the marriage, including 100% of your income. It's called commitment.

working or not, there is no handing over of money.

Now that is sad. His money is mine. My money is his. Both incomes go into the family pot.

Doesn't help that Japan doesn't really have joint accounts either.

lol We have two household accounts, one in my name and one in his (you have to have an account in your own name for tax purposes etc), I have charge of both of them. I withdraw money from either account as necessary, no problem with the bank; when he went in with his own bank book and hanko to draw money out recently, he had to provide ID.

To get back to the article, to say that sararimen don't have as much cash in their pockets as they did at the height of the bubble really isn't saying much. Virtually everything (except cheese and butter :( grrr) is cheaper than it was then.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Try scraping by on an English teacher's income: No pension, no health insurance, yearly contracts, no job security, no steady salary, no rights (or few resources to pursue those rights) if you suddenly get laid off.

Funny, I know many English teachers that have the things you mentioned.

Now that is sad. His money is mine. My money is his. Both incomes go into the family pot. Judgmental much? Who said anything about not having a family pot? A family pot is NOT handing money over to someone, it is putting it in the pot - which in our case, gets managed together.

lol We have two household accounts, one in my name and one in his (you have to have an account in your own name for tax purposes etc), I have charge of both of them. I withdraw money from either account as necessary, no problem with the bank; when he went in with his own bank book and hanko to draw money out recently, he had to provide ID.

Not sure why you lol'd because you clearly don't seem to understand what a joint account is in the legal sense. BOTH names on the account Cleo, not one, both.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

518 yen a day for lunch is a pittance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Guru: Actually, a LOT of the adverse effects are already being felt, it's just that any noise being made by importers or companies that deal with imported parts or what have you is drowned out by the corporate execs raking in the profits.

I'm for dual accounts. The whole handing over all the money one earns, despite being 'for the family', is something I will not do. I know FAR too many homemakers who hand the husband 1000 yen or less for 'allowance' and then spend 3000 - 8000 yen on lunch with other homemakers, then go shopping with them at the newest and trendiest department stores, etc. I'm not saying they don't work -- they work their butts off at home and with child-rearing, for the most part, and in traditional households, but my point is it needs to go both ways. As such, a husband who makes all the money but has no idea how to handle and/or pay bills or budget is equally as sad as the situation in which the breadwinner hands all of his (or her) money to their partner then holds out their hand for a pittance.

My wife insisted on the latter at first, but it was so utterly ridiculous given that the bank accounts were all established by me and in my name. I would hand her my pay and she would count it, then give it back to me and ask me to deposit it all (save some for shopping). Then she would hand me bills when received and ask me to pay them (if not automatically withdrawn from my account). I even handed over the ATM and credit cards but when still asked to pay the bills and handed over the cards we just decided to forget it. We made a joint account until it was clear SHE could not budget or spend wisely, so now she uses the money she makes (after getting a job) for all the cosmetics, clothes, esthetician, beauty salon, massage, fashion mags, and groceries, and I pay all the bills from my account. Still left with a pittance, more or less, and we of course pool when and what we can, but there none of this allowance rubbish.

As for Abenomics, it's going to fail the majority of the people and nation as a whole, while only the rich profit. The scariest part is how much debt is being added in its name.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

" While deflation is apparently good for individuals, it is bad for the economy as a whole because it encourages shoppers to put off purchases in the knowledge the same product will cost less next month."

Why do I hear or read this statement almost daily now? And is there actually any proof of this? It seems to be suggesting that people just put off purchases indefinitely, which does not make sense. If I want (and especially if I NEED) to buy something, what good will it do me to just wait for the prices to drop further, and in the process ending up NOT to buy it altogether? I think the logic in this argumentation is totally flawed.

As for that practice of handing your entire paycheck over to your wife: If both are happy with this practice, so be it, however weird it may seem to me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@tmarie

Why any man would agree to hand over his pay to a wife who doesn't make money of her own is beyond me..

Love, complete trust and a hopelessness with money in my case. (Though she does work.)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

afanofjapan,

...this is just the culture here.

Ah yes - the Japanese Culture. So now it's whaling, giving all you money to the Mrs., corrupt oyaji everywhere and...? What else?

It has nothing to do wiith culture - it's a custom.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

no problem here handing over the sal. as I am so bad with money and the bill system is awfully complicated here

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese men really are a bunch of little cowards. They are all terrified of the ogres they married, and have no ability to stand up for themselves because they weren't partially raised by men. Bunch of spineless mummy's boys, they should all try growing a pair.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

There's a mistake in the headline. The author wrote "despite" when it should have been "because of".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A family pot is NOT handing money over to someone, it is putting it in the pot - which in our case, gets managed together.

And one person needs to be in charge of the pot, otherwise you end up with bills not being paid because each thinks the other has dealt with it, and not enough money in the pot to pay the bills because some huge unexpected bill got paid without being mentioned.

Not sure why you lol'd

I lol'd because not only is there no joint account, but even the bank sees his account as mine; I can draw from it freely, he needs ID.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Just as chronic gamblers, whenever questioned about how much they spend, typically err on the low side, I suspect that your average salarymans memory is seriously compromised by the amount of alcohol he consumes at those frequent "almost compulsory bonding sessions". Either that, or hes worried that if he tells the truth, his wife might find out and penalise him. It would have been good to have been given a breakdown of the figures and comparisons between married and unmarried salarymen and the amounts for different age groups. Three or four drinks and some nibbles (you normally dont drink on an empty stomach), will set you back on average say around four thousand. A couple of times a week, seven or eight times a month, and youre looking at closer to thirty thousand yen. Another thing, restricting the study to salarymen may have made sense thirty or more years ago; these days women (often in all-girl groups) are out there quaffing with the best of them, and spending money like there`s no tomorrow.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I have never really been able to understand the whole "separateness" in marriage in Japan - work/home, separate rooms to sleep in once the baby comes along, separate bank accounts (I get that you are not able to have a joint account in Japan, but it seems like even access is denied!) etc etc. It just doesnt smack of the teamwork a marriage needs, from my admittedly western point of view. And yet, my husband says he is a damn sight happier married than most of his buddies. I dont blame some J men for frequenting soaplands and snack bars, when I hear of the treatment they get at home.

On finances specifically, we have always had bank accounts in my husbands name, just because he was the one who set them up. I had bank accounts when I was working to put my salary into, but we pretty much ignored that and worked off of his, unless we needed to dip into mine. But I never considered them "mine" or his "his", even though they were in separate names. We always knew each others IDs and passwords and moved money around as needed. I monitored the finances more than he did, but only because I had more time to, and I am better with money than he is, so I would let him know if he was overspending and needed to reign in a bit that month. He trusted me to do the same. If there was a big purchase he wanted to make he would call me first, more as a courtesy than anything else, knowing I would rarely say no we cant unless there was a good reason. And I would do the same. I am not working right now but I dont feel remotely guilty for that. It is only because we now have 3 young children, and I am recovering from an illness. I have contributed in the past and am now retraining to contribute again in the future when the kids are a bit older. Certainly not out there quaffing it with the best of them, mores the pity. Well, except for this Friday night coming up but thats a rarity :) !

oyatoi - I noticed the glaring discrepancy there too - 7689 yen for drinking 2 or 3 nights a week?! Unless they are drinking in the park round the corner from the combini I suspect it is going to come in at a LOT more than less than 1000 yen a night.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

cleo, it seems that not only are you in total control, but you also seem to enjoy to no end that you are... Enough said.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And one person needs to be in charge of the pot, otherwise you end up with bills not being paid because each thinks the other has dealt with it, and not enough money in the pot to pay the bills because some huge unexpected bill got paid without being mentioned.

LOL! No. We've never had an issue, certainly don't have someone "in charge" and have never missed a bill. Not sure why you can't understand that "your" way isn't the only way to do things.

cleo, it seems that not only are you in total control, but you also seem to enjoy to no end that you are... Enough said. Glad someone said this as I noticed the same.

If men are happy with this style of system, great. Thing is, many appear not to be and that's the issue.

Great post Chiba - and ditto on understanding why some men do go to such places.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

not only are you in total control, but you also seem to enjoy to no end that you are... Enough said.

You make it sound like you think it's a bad thing....;-)

If men are happy with this style of system, great. Thing is, many appear not to be and that's the issue.

I don't see many Japanese men complaining - all the moaning seems to be coming from the 'it's my money, I earned it and I'm keeping it' overseas contingent, lucabrasi and safinator being the refreshing exceptions.

And the issue addressed in the article is not who oversees the household finances, but how much or how little the budget allows for variables such as drinking and other day to day sundries

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

my wife and I both work and we both share in paying the bills, if she ahsnt got the money to pay something I do and vice versa, although I make more money I pay the majority of the bills. If my wife was a earned a high salary and I didnt make much at all, theres no way id expect her to hand over all her salary to me each month. shes not my slave shes my wife!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

**I don't see many Japanese men complaining - all the moaning seems to be coming from the 'it's my money, I earned it and I'm keeping it' overseas contingent, lucabrasi and safinator being the refreshing exceptions.

And the issue addressed in the article is not who oversees the household finances, but how much or how little the budget allows for variables such as drinking and other day to day sundries**

Well I am going to guess that you don't go out with a lot of salarymen in their 20s, 30s and 40s who DO moan about it. And many other things their very controlling, non-working wives do.

And indeed, the article IS about how much the budget allows and as Smith pointed out, many women giving their husbands very little money all while enjoying their shopping and expensive lunch sets. No one is denying that people have had to cut back, the issue is just the balance of what is being cut and why.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I am going to guess that you don't go out with a lot of salarymen in their 20s, 30s and 40s who DO moan about it. And many other things their very controlling, non-working wives do.

To some extent, you'll hear what they think you want to hear. Take it all with a very large pinch of salt. After all, the account's in their name - no reason they cannot take over, if things are so bad. The fact is most Japanese men are quite happy to let their wives handle all the day-to-day nitty-gritty of household finances. Of course they'd like a bigger allowance (wouldn't we all?) and they may not understand or agree with every purchase she may make, but when push comes to shove they (husbands and wives) have things the way they want them given the present economic situation.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

ChibaChick mentions a very common issue with women:

On finances specifically, we have always had bank accounts in my husbands name, just because he was the one who set them up. I had bank accounts when I was working to put my salary into, but we pretty much ignored that and worked off of his, unless we needed to dip into mine.

What's his is ours and what's mine is mine. Women are by and large very cheap when they make the money. I have never seen an exception.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@cleo "And one person needs to be in charge of the pot" wow you must be living in the 50s. my wife and I have a pot each, she pays certain bills, I pay the rest, although I make more money I pay the most naturally. having one partner controlling the income of both dictating who gets what isnt a realtionship, its a mild form of slavery, aka the J salaryman. LOL

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@cleo "And one person needs to be in charge of the pot" wow you must be living in the 50s. my wife and I have a pot each, she pays certain bills, I pay the rest, although I make more money I pay the most naturally. having one partner controlling the income of both dictating who gets what isnt a realtionship, its a mild form of slavery, aka the J salaryman. LOL

That's what I was trying to said, hahahahahaha

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've met many like them. As you say, I'm older than you, been here longer, spoken to more people than you. Tell yourself what you like.

Haha! The arrogance never fails to amaze me. You tell yourself what you like. I'll use the divorce rate, the late marrying age, the lack of kids, the happiness index and the gender equality index to support my opinions and thoughts.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@tmarie "You tell yourself what you like. I'll use the divorce rate, the late marrying age, the lack of kids, the happiness index and the gender equality index to support my opinions and thoughts" and dont forget to throw in the high suicide rate, most of them middle aged J men. J women need to understand that the J man isnt just a source of income to fund her lifestyle and children, J men may dominate the workplace, but J women definately dominate at home. since most of a family mans happiness comes from his family/home (not work) there needs to be a more balanced approach to relationships in this country.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

WTF, to be honest, I don't think you can say family/home these days. Kids? I'd agree there but most of the guys I know enjoy being out of the office AND house. Which is said considering they're the ones paying for it. Plenty of men staying in horrible marriages for the sake of the kids. I think if Japan actually did something about child custody/visitation rights, you'd see many men here filing for divorce.

And yes on the other factors you commented on. Alcoholism, stress related illnesses, obesity... It's not a pretty picture here for men.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@tmarie yeah after I typed that I said wait a minute if J men like to drink out and visit soapland so much then maybe home life isnt that happy after all. with the crazy hours they spend at work its no wonder many feel like a cash cow for there families. J women who get to stay home and bring up there children dont realise how good they have it compared to the men.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

Oh I think they realise it - which is why many refuse to go to work!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm in export, and am paying a lot more taxes since my company is making more profits. I am also paying my employees more in salary and bonuses. If you think things were peachy before, I can only laugh. Abenomics all the way for me

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I didn't bother reading this whole article, frankly it sounds like recycled stuff you often find in European papers to make Europeans feel better about their own crisis, however: Where is this crisis? I've gotten several raises since the crack, wife has changed jobs twice (of her own choice), both times spending mere weeks in between. No one I know has any problems. NO ONE I know hands their salary over to the wife. Yes I know the end looms over our dear country and we're doomed etc, but besides gaijin who've worked dodgy forex firms for a few summers and all of a sudden are financial demigods moving their funds to overseas accounts and obscure metals, no one I've heard of "scrapes by" , it's exactly as it was ten years ago.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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