Poll finds 22.1% of households are without savings

About 22.1 percent of households in Japan consisting of two or more people have no savings, the second-highest level since 1963, a recent Bank of Japan survey found.

The Central Council for Financial Services Information said its 2004 poll found that the percentage of such households without financial assets, ranging from savings and securities to insurance contracts, rose 0.3 percentage point from a year ago.

The record high was 22.2 percent marked in 1963, when the annual survey began.

The latest poll was conducted from June 25 to July 5. Of 10,080 households selected, 44.8 percent responded.

As for households that own some financial assets, the average amount shrank by 620,000 yen from a year earlier to 13.98 million yen, the poll found. That is the lowest level since 1999, when the corresponding figure stood at 13.66 million yen.

“The poll showed that the economic rebound has not yet exerted its favorable effects on household finances,” an analyst on the council said.

“Personal spending is firm at present mainly because households are digging into their bank and postal savings,” the analyst said.

The poll found 44.2 percent of households have spread deposits among different banks to avoid the impact of the abolition next April of an official full-refund guarantee on ordinary deposits at banks that fail.