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Lifestyle satisfaction highest since ’63, though income remains sore point: life survey

Kyodo, JIJI

Lifestyle satisfaction is at its highest since 1963, with some 73.9 percent of Japanese more or less satisfied with their lives, according to the Public Opinion Survey on the Life of the People.

The results of the Cabinet Office’s latest survey, released Saturday, show satisfaction is 3.8 points higher than last year and the highest since 1963, when the annual survey began.

The survey of 10,000 men and women 18 or older drew valid answers from 63.2 percent and was conducted from June 15 to July 2.

Of the respondents, 25.0 percent said they were dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied with life, down 3.5 points. That’s the lowest percentage since 1995, the Cabinet Office said.

“It appears that the level of satisfaction rose as the economy’s gradual recovery led to income growth,” an official from the Cabinet Office said.

Income satisfaction rose 3.2 points to 51.3 percent, posting the largest pace of increase among all categories — including food, durable goods, housing, leisure and self-development — compared with a year earlier.

But about 46.9 percent of the respondents said they were unhappy with their income.

As for the outlook on their lives, most — 65.2 percent — expected little change, 23.1 percent forecast some deterioration and 9.4 percent held out hope for improvement.

Asked what they would do if they had more free time, 47.0 percent said travel, followed by 34.8 percent who said pursue hobbies and other recreational activities, and 18.7 percent who listed sports.

This question was asked for the first time as part of the government’s effort to reform working styles, including the cultural habit of working excessive overtime.

On areas the government should concentrate on, with multiple answers allowed, 65.1 percent listed social security, 51.1 percent economic policy, 51.1 percent measures to address the rapid graying of society, and 37.3 percent employment and labor issues.

Defense and security issues were cited by 36.2 percent, the highest since this question was added in 2001.

The results apparently reflect North Korea’s rising nuclear and missile tests and China’s unrelenting maritime expansion.