Living costs drift relatively lower

Regarding William Pesek’s Oct. 29 article, “The lust beneath Japan’s sex drought“: I agree with Pesek’s myth-busting analysis that Japan’s low birthrate is the result of the economy — not the lack of sexual desire. That said, I would like Pesek to reconsider another myth: that the cost of living in Japan is among the highest in the world even after the decades of deflation.

In the first half of the 2000s, I lived in London and traveled to Washington, the San Francisco Bay Area, Paris and other places. I found prices much higher than in Japan.

With housing bubbles and the pound sterling strong against the yen, I have felt that the living costs in London were about double that of Tokyo while the food-and-service quality was less than half the level of Tokyo. For example, it was impossible to find tidy and comfortable hotel rooms worth about ¥6,000 elsewhere.

My friends who came to London on business trips were always complaining about paying about ¥20,000 and getting a room that was fully taken up by the bed. And in those years, I was always surprised that you could find a decent meal for under ¥500.

So, I cannot believe that Japan’s living cost is among the world’s highest. I wonder what other Japan Times readers think.

ken nannixhi
yamato, kanagawa

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • pookie

    I agree with you Ken. I haven’t been to as many places as you, but compared to living in Hawaii and California, I find that housing, food, and general household items are generally a lot cheaper in Japan (besides rice, and some fruits) Sure, the houses are generally smaller, but I am sure many struggling young people would like to have some smaller, affordable housing choices.