Akiko Sayama re-examined her spending habits when the Tokyo staffing agency where she works cut its overtime budget. She lost around ¥1 million in annual pay, so one of the first things she did was curb her tastes for Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

“I need to cut back where I can,” said Sayama, 41, who lives in Saitama Prefecture. “It’s not like I lost my interest in luxury brands. I can’t afford them.”

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