Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who hails from a wealthy political dynasty, has drawn public criticism over a gaffe he made in the Diet Friday, which was quickly pounced on as evidence by some that he lacks real knowledge about the plight of the middle class.

During a Lower House Budget Committee meeting, Abe attempted to explain why average real wages, or workers' price-adjusted earnings, have declined since he took office in December 2012. In his explanation, he cited "the Abes," an imaginary family where the husband earns ¥500,000 a month and the wife, who recently began a part-time job, makes ¥250,000.

The outcry over the figures was almost immediate on social networking services, with numerous users bashing Abe and calling such salaries unthinkably high — particularly for part-timers.