Front of Tokyo Station in Japan

Japan’s Economy Recovering from the Slump

Home Info About Japan Daily Life in Japan Japan’s Economy Recovering from the Slump

It is no secret that the Japanese economy has been in a slump for the last 30 years. Ever since the Japanese stock market crashed in 1989, Japan hasn’t been able to get back to pre-crash levels until very recently. And with the population shrinking, economic growth is a tough feat to accomplish.

Cash paper money and coins from Japan

The Japanese Economy After the Bubble

The problem started in 1989 when the Japanese stock market crashed. As the famed bubble economy continued to deflate, more corporations approached the brink of bankruptcy. This prompted banks to extend loans that currently account for 150 billion yen in bad debts. These debts have resulted in deflation and increased public debts. Also, there is a growing concern over how the government will manage to support the public pension fund. The fund is expected to support a graying population with fewer workers, which will be hard.

In Tokyo, the effects of this seem to be a mixed bag. Not surprisingly, as Japan’s financial and cultural capital, it’s been hit hard. It’s been estimated that 25% of people under 30 are unable to find full-time employment and will thus stay in precarious part-time work or contract work. However, beyond this grim statistic, the city seems not only calm but also resilient.

For the first time, people under 40 seem to be rejecting the stability of lifetime employment in favor of more compelling, often more flexible, jobs as independent contractors. They see the value of not giving away your whole life to your company, keeping some individuality, and having more free time. Because their ranks are growing, the markets also have to adjust.

Lower COL and Unemployment

This means that Tokyo, once known as an impossibly expensive city, has become a lot less expensive in the last 20 years. Many tourists that we have received over the last 15 years have expressed their surprise at the affordability of their holiday to Japan and the very reasonable cost of eating out in Japan. The same reaction often comes after they hear what the average salary for full-time employees is in Japan and in Tokyo, which is 39,000 USD/year and 50,o00 USD/year respectively, which is about the same as in the US.  To give you an idea of what commodities cost in Japan we made a list.

It is true though that unemployment levels aren’t nearly as high as in many other developed countries at only 3%. Even after the crisis in 2020 happened, unemployment wasn’t nearly as bad as elsewhere in the developed world. There are, however, many workers without stable employment who can’t really afford what would be considered an average lifestyle with a family and a home.

General Cost of Living in Japan

  • One apple : 100 yen
  • Milk 1,5L : 180 yen
  • Soft drink : 120 yen
  • Coffee : 200yen- 300 yen
  • Sashimi – supermarket : 350-800 yen
  • Snack : 150 yen
  • 2km taxi ride : 660 yen
  • Metro ticket : 160 yen
  • JR Line ticket : 150 yen

Cost of General Luxury Items

  • Newspaper – in English : 150 yen
  • Chewing gum : 110 yen
  • Magazine : about 500-800 yen
  • Cinema ticket : 1800 yen
  • Cigarettes – Marlboro : 320 yen
  • Beer – supermarket : 230 yen
  • Lager – at a Bar : 500 yen
  • Beer from vending machine : 350 yen

Your Japan Package Tour

As seasoned Japan experts, we create perfect Japan package tours including guides that can tell you everything about the Japanese economy and society. Check out our group tours and private tours, or contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!

Recommended Articles