National

Japanese to stay at home this summer as economic worries and smaller bonuses dent budgets

by Mizuho Aoki

Staff Writer

While many Japanese dream of spending weeks on vacation to get away from their homes and offices, many are likely to settle for more modest getaways this summer amid the ongoing uncertainties in the economy.

According to an online survey by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co., many plan to spend the summer holidays at home due mainly to budget limitations.

Spending is likely to come to an average of ¥81,380 this summer, down ¥2,952 from the previous year and down for the second year in a row.

Men are willing to spend ¥82,723, up ¥680 from the previous year, while women plan to reduce spending to ¥80,029, down ¥6,596, the survey said. This is the first time men’s budgets have exceeded women’s in the past 11 years, the report said.

Asked how they plan to spend their vacation time, with multiple answers allowed, 74.6 percent said they would stay home, followed by 35.6 percent who said they will travel in Japan and 25.9 percent who said they will return to their hometowns to visit parents. Only 10.5 percent said they would go abroad.

Last year, 68.9 percent said they would stay home, 32.2 percent said they would travel in Japan, 28.1 percent said they would go to hometowns and 9.8 percent said they would go abroad.

The survey, conducted earlier this month, drew valid responses from 1,093 people aged between 20 and 59.

The majority of those who intend to visit their hometowns said they would drive to save money, rather than take the shinkansen or airplanes.

“Women responsible for family budgets might have tightened their purse strings out of anxiety over the future,” Meiji Yasuda’s chief economist Yuichi Kodama wrote in his report on the survey.

Kodama said many export-oriented manufacturers reduced summer bonuses this year due to the yen’s strength in the first half of 2016.

According to the survey, only 10.9 percent saw bonuses rise this summer, down 2.3 points from last year, while 41.3 percent said they either didn’t receive a bonus or didn’t know whether they would.

But Kodama said he hopes to see more generous winter bonuses as business confidence begins to improve.

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