Spiritual gains trump material: poll

Kyodo

The latest national livelihood survey says 64 percent of the public is placing priority on “spiritual fulfillment” rather than “material richness,” up 2.6 points from the previous survey taken in October 2011 and the highest since the poll began in 1972.

Those who put priority on material wealth fell 0.9 point to 30.1 percent, according to survey results released Saturday by the Cabinet Office. The poll covered 10,000 people in June and July and drew valid replies from 63.5 percent, the office said.

Asked where policy measures were most needed, “the economy” was cited by 66.5 percent, climbing 0.2 point to the highest in nine years. This was followed by “social security services such as health care and pensions” at 66.1 percent, down a point, and “measures for the graying of society” at 51.2 percent and “problems with employment and labor” at 47.3 percent. Multiple replies were allowed.

The spiritual segment has eclipsed the material since 1979. In the latest survey, the gap expanded to 33.9 points for the first time, with size of the former more than doubling the latter.

“Since the Great East Japan Earthquake (in March 2011) there has been an increased tendency among people to place importance on human bonds and relations with family members,” a Cabinet Office official said.

Asked what they want to focus on, “leisure and recreational activities” rose 1.9 points to 37.7 percent, followed by “income” at 33.3 percent and “assets and savings” at 32.2 percent.