Japanese people are generally regarded as saving a lot and not spending much, but in olden times when Tokyo was called Edo (until the mid-19th century), it was considered iki (chic or sophisticated) not to keep one’s earnings overnight.
The latest survey from the Central Council for Financial Services Information (part of the Bank of Japan) may suggest that people are going back to that tradition — although perhaps not for style reasons.
The survey, only available in Japanese so far, showed more than one in four households (consisting of at least two people) said they have no savings, the highest level since the survey started in 1963.
The average level of savings was 11.5 mln yen ($143,232), down 190,000 yen from last year.
More than 40 percent of the respondents said their savings fell from a year ago, double those who said their savings increased.