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Personal savings in Japan - statistics & facts

Personal savings are the part of disposable income that is not spent on the consumption of goods and services but preserved for future use. Personal savings are influenced by a variety of factors, such as a country’s economic development and are interrelated with personal consumption spending and investments. In Japan, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to an increase in household savings and the highest household saving ratios recorded in the past decades.

Household savings during the pandemic

The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led households around the world to postpone their consumption. In Japan, decreased household consumption caused by self-quarantine measures and travel restrictions, uncertainty about the future economic development, and stimulus payments to households were all factors that have likely impacted household savings throughout the pandemic. Net household savings increased significantly, while the household saving ratio, which had ranged between one and two percent in the years prior to the pandemic, reached its highest level since 1994. The high savings ratio was accompanied by household financial assets increasing to a record two quadrillion yen at the end of 2021. Currency and deposits accounted for more than 53 percent of households assets, reflecting Japanese households’ preference for cash and their risk aversion regarding investments.

Usage of tax-exempt savings schemes

Households and individuals save to prepare for future consumption. According to a survey, the main motivations to save money among Japanese households included provision for old age and unexpected events such as illness or disaster. As the Japanese population is rapidly aging, and life expectancy is one of the highest in the world, concerns about retirement savings and old-age poverty are on the rise. To encourage long-term asset formation and investments in preparation for old age, the government has introduced two tax-advantaged long-term asset formation schemes; the Nippon Individual Savings Accounts (NISA), which was modeled on the UK’s Individual Savings Accounts (ISA), and the individual-type defined contribution pension plans (iDeCO), optional private pension plans. Assets in individual-type defined contribution pension plans saw a year-on-year increase of 37 percent in 2021, while investments in NISA accounts amounted to 25 trillion yen.

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