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Occasionally in this space I refer to a financial writer called “Gucci-san” who contributes a weekly column to Aera. Apparently, he works for an investment consulting firm that does a lot of work in mergers and acquisitions. In a recent piece he said that some of his clients are involved in importing and exporting, and while the yen rate may affect their bottom lines, it doesn’t change the fees his company charges them. In other words, though the media is now getting all excited over the fact that the yen’s value against other currencies is dropping slightly, “that change has no merit for me.”

He then asks readers whether it will have a positive effect for them. “If your company increases exports as a result of the weakening yen and makes more profit, will your salary go up?” He’s guessing it won’t, since during the highest postwar growth period of 2002-07, when the yen was much weaker, salaries were stagnant and disposable income actually went down. More relevant to the average person is the cost of living, so a drop in the value of the yen has more of a direct effect “on people’s wallets,” says Gucci-san, especially in terms of everyday import-intensive items like food and gasoline, which will go up in price.

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