So how’s the Japanese economy looking after more than a year coping with the pandemic? Here are the headlines:
- Japan’s economy contracted 1.3% in January-March, the first decline in three quarters. Over the fiscal year just ended, household spending fell 4.9%, the second largest drop on record, while industrial output hit a seven-year low.
- Looking forward warily, experts predict the current state of emergency could take a ¥1 trillion bite out of the economy, while the mood among so-called economy watchers soured the most in 13 months in April.
- The pandemic continues to pummel hotels and travel agencies, decimating sales and leaving the tourism industry drowning in red ink, writes Alex K.T. Martin. Meanwhile, izakaya pubs are still suffering, even as fast-food chains rake in profits.
- The last business year saw the biggest decline in job availability in nearly half a century, but 96% of new college grads had secured work as of April 1. While government aid is keeping bankruptcies super-low, government debt rose by a record ¥101 trillion in fiscal 2020.
- As for salaries, all of the above threatens to scupper Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s plan to boost the minimum wage, as the PM faces opposition to the plan on two fronts. As for summer bonus prospects, best not get your hopes up.