Taxzilla's coming! What to do?

TOKYO —

The old adage about nothing being certain but death and taxes is getting a lot of play these days. At midnight on April 1, the consumption tax applied to all goods and services in Japan jumps from 5% to 8%. And the impending increase is already impacting on consumer behavior as people stock up on various commodities in the hope of saving a few extra yen.

If you’re planning to leap into the fray and join the hordes of hoarders, advises Nikkan Gendai (March 8), there are some things you will need to consider, such as shelf lives of the various commodities that you buy in bulk. The tabloid is also advising that you shop soon, because store shelves are likely to be picked bare by the final week of March.

It appears the second and third weeks of March will be the time to get the shopping done, particularly for rice, beer and wine, seasonings, laundry detergent and shampoo (buy 2 to 3 months’ worth) and beverages in 2-liter PET bottles.

Any time before April 1, it’s a good idea to stock up on ink cartridges for your computer printer and pay a visit to your barber or hairdresser.

Before the month is over, savings of up to 4,000 yen can also be realized by checking into a “human dock” for a complete physical examination. Specialty clinics generally charge about 100,000 yen for these. If you wear disposable contact lenses, it’s also a good time to stock up on a three to six-month supply.

While the increased consumption tax is disruptive to the economy, it’s not a given that the prices will go up on all goods. Television receivers and personal computer are subject to frequent fluctuations in the market, so unless your current unit needs immediate replacement, it’s probably better to wait.

If you were planning to purchase a high-ticket jewelry item or famous brand goods, now’s the time to do it, as long as the items you chose are not sold at outlet stores or on the gray market.

“They’re saying that it’s a good idea to buy two to three sets of dress shirts and underwear,” Takayuki Suzuki, an authority on marketing and distribution, tells the tabloid. “Likewise for appliances that don’t undergo frequent model changes and whose prices tend not to fluctuate. If you are planning to replace your refrigerator or washing machine with a new one, it’s probably a good idea to do it during March.”

Another type of item it might make sense to stock up on would be disaster preparation goods, which many stores will be displaying with conjunction with Tuesday’s third anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

“Emergency foods such as those in pouches or cans, or certain dried confections, typically have a storage life of three years,” says a retailer, who advises that the older edible items on hand should consumed and replenished with new goods each season.

The biggest savings advantage within this month, according to the items in Nikkan Gendai’s list, appears to a memorial marker for one’s cemetery plot. Yes, order and pay for your “boseki” now, the tabloid advises. Since they can cost several millions of yen, that means possibly saving tens of thousands of yen. Which, presumably, you will put to good use, on something that will give you enjoyment in this life.

  • 1

    HokkaidoKuma

    Let the frenzy begin.

  • 0

    Pandabelle

    Geez, folks, it's 3%! Sure this is an issue if you are buying a big ticket item but shampoo? Rice? It's not going to affect those items very much at all.

  • 7

    Strangerland

    Sure this is an issue if you are buying a big ticket item but shampoo? Rice? It's not going to affect those items very much at all.

    As the Japanese say, 'chiri mo tsumoreba, yama to naru' (if you pile up garbage, it becomes a mountain). 3% isn't going to matter when you buy a single small-ticket item, but when you look at the cumulative amount spent over a month of small ticket items, it adds up. In the end, it doesn't matter that the item is small ticket or big ticket, it's still going to add up to thousands, if not tens of thousands of yen per month.

  • 4

    GalapagosnoGairaishu

    After the last tax increase, consumers stopped buying stuff and prices dropped, making the items cheaper than they were before the tax increase. By the way, the 8% tax is applied at every stage of distribution, so if you have a producer, wholesaler and retailer, that makes it 24%. (Of course 8% bite on the manufacturer to wholesaler transaction is lower than the retailer to consumer transaction.) I think the Japanese government is nuts to apply this tax to basic necessities like food, rents and medicine. The Diet is said to be mulling some kind rebate system for the economically disadvantaged, but that will just generate a blizzard of red tape and of course spawn all kinds of cheaters. Sigh.

  • -1

    Pandabelle

    when you look at the cumulative amount spent over a month of small ticket items, it adds up

    Yes, it adds up to 3%. It's 3% if you spend 1000 yen or 1 million yen a month.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    3% is a relative number, not absolute. So it doesn't add up to 3%, it is 3%. The absolute value of that 3%, the amount of yen it refers to, is what adds up. For a family already living under tight financial constrictions, the additional five or ten thousand yen could mean the difference between eating some days and not.

  • 1

    Pandabelle

    3% is a relative number, not absolute.

    Don't give lectures to mathematicians on numbers! ;)

    Of course this will disproportionally affect poorer people, all consumption taxes do. But it's ludicrous to prepare for a 3% tax increase like it's the apocalypse.

  • -1

    Reckless

    ministry of finance must be so happy, let the high roller ginza days return for bureaucrats!

  • 2

    rickyvee

    just about to buy my big ticket items: a bed and an "assist" bicycle.

  • 7

    Reckless

    just about to buy my big ticket item too, a one way ticket back to the motherland,,,

  • -5

    falseflagsteve

    A very small increase which will have little or no effect on most people. Personally i will not notice the difference and will not be purchasing anything to save the extra cost.

    Some people may feel the pinch but this is a small amount of people and there are always ways to save money.

  • 5

    Carcharodon

    The "pennywise ...pound foolish" types will be going into overdrive- along with the "hangaku hunter" types and the "Costco Crazies" ....

  • 1

    marcelito

    I,m not in the market for any big items, but if i was I,d wait out the "buy now to save" salesmen and do the big shopping a couple of months after the tax hike comes. If the demand drops as much as predicted the retailers will be much more willing to offer good discounts and negotiate and you might bag a much better deal than now when shops and order books are full.

  • 0

    Tom Webb

    We once stocked up on bathroom tissue that lasted this family of two adults and two teens for little over three years. Same for plastic trash bags.

  • 0

    ThonTaddeo

    By the way, the 8% tax is applied at every stage of distribution, so if you have a producer, wholesaler and retailer, that makes it 24%. (Of course 8% bite on the manufacturer to wholesaler transaction is lower than the retailer to consumer transaction.)

    Are you sure those middlemen can't get rebates for the tax they pay, as they do in high-VAT European countries? This means an effective tax of (1.08^3) or 25.9% on goods that pass through two middlemen (a wholesaler and a retailer), which is more than even the infamously-tax-loving Scandinavian countries.

    That would be economic suicide for Japan, though with Abe and the tax-hungry LDP in charge, I wouldn't put it past them.

  • 1

    samwatters

    In a few years from now well will probably look back fondly on the 8% income tax as the silver-spoon group in the Diet is already making plans to raise it again. Let's face it; we are nothing but ATM machines that breath to this government.

  • 4

    hidingout

    This article was useful to me. I hadn't thought about the printer cartridges.

  • 0

    Nessie

    But will there be cuts on things like electronics after the tax takes effect and there's a retail hangover? That's the question.

  • 1

    sangetsu03

    A very small increase which will have little or no effect on most people. Personally i will not notice the difference and will not be purchasing anything to save the extra cost.

    How much is 3% of your annual salary? And when you figure it out, what could you have bought with the money? And don't forget that 3% is just the first step of a 5% increase. How much is 5% of your income? If you have a family, 5% of your income is more than what you would have to put away each month for your child's education.

    The government is asking us to bear the burden of their spending. Tell me, has the government reduced spending on any national program? Have they laid off any government workers, or reduced their pay? Have they cut back their travel spending or perks in any way? No, no, and no.

    Here is what will happen. The tax will have a negative impact, and Japan will be pushed back into recession. Consumption will decline, unemployment will rise, and life will get worse for everyone in every class. Business and capital will continue to flee Japan, as it has been doing for the past 4 years.

    The few solutions which would do any good will never be considered, because they would require that the government live within it's means, just like we have to.

  • 0

    David Foley

    Small increase in taxes but Japanese media will get everyone riled and create a very short economic boom. The Yen Budhists are resorting to anything to please their money god.

  • -1

    Pandabelle

    Tell me, has the government reduced spending on any national program? Have they laid off any government workers, or reduced their pay?

    That government spending employs people, sangetsu! It puts food on the table for thousands of families. You want to lay off workers to improve the economy? That makes no sense.

    There is, and always will be, a strong link between government and industry in Japan, with government support keeping companies in the black and people employed. It's certainly not the most efficient way to do business but it is a great way to keep the wage gap in check and alleviate poverty. This talk of getting rid of government workers just means fewer people being able to make ends meet.

  • 0

    mrkobayashi

    How much is 3% of your annual salary

    What a ridiculous statement. Who spends all of their salary? The two things that cost the most money every month for me are my housing loan and insurance payments, which add up to about 200,000. None of that is affected by the consumption tax increase.

  • 4

    Reckless

    If I stocked up on several months of toilet tissues etc. in my little Tokyo apartment I wouldn't even have room to shytte.

  • 1

    TorafusuTorasan

    If all products remain at the same price after April 1, you could estimate it as a 3% across the board increase. But companies seem to be preparing for a lag in sales after the tax hike by implementing extra price increases. One small example I found was Suntory announced they are raising some of their conbini juice/soda drinks from 140 to 159 yen to be better situated for the tax increase. So 19 yen plus another 5 yen tax means that product has gone up by 24 yen, or about 17%. If this happens two years in a row, that will be a major rise in prices that trounces all the talk of it being only 3%, 5%, or 8% more to pay.

  • -1

    Reckless

    And guess what suntory, i will walk a few meters down the street to the 100 yen generic place as your sales stumble,,,

    my prediction is most companies will eat the tax increase or most of it and prices won't rise.

  • 5

    cleo

    Who spends all of their salary?

    People on minimum wage. People who can't afford a housing loan in the first place and will be paying the extra tax on their rent.

  • 3

    It"S ME

    Not really many companies ate the 5% but are now adding the 8%.

    QB is one going from 1000 to 1080. Add in that many will adjust prices upwards to get a nice round number on the price sticker.

  • 1

    Thunderbird2

    When the UK's VAT rate went from 17.5% to 20% we just accepted it. Not a lot else you can do really.

  • 4

    Vernie Jefferies

    Too late, I already seen the prices of many things jumping at the first of this month. I thought they were charging me the new tax until I looked at some bill, and noticed it was a price hike. It gets higher next month again.

  • 0

    slumdog

    Who spends all of their salary?

    A lot of people need to. Many even need to spend more than their salary. At least, until they can no longer maintain it and go bankrupt.

  • 2

    It"S ME

    Forgot to add.

    The rounding up of prices will be done to reduce the number if 1 & 5yen coins traded, also most vending machines don't accept those. Check the prices that JR will charge via ticket machines and Suica.

    I can see 100yen shops going from 105 straight to 110 and thus skip the next tax raise to 10%.

  • 5

    zichi

    About big rip off with false prices and the authorities need to come down hard on those doing it.

  • 1

    Reckless

    I have been in JP since 1993. In 1993 can coffee was 120 yen. I bought a canned coffee at 7/11 yesterday for 110 (21 years later), there are some options for 100 yen there as well. In that time the sales tax has gone from 0-5%. Based on this I think ultimately prices will not rise. You can't bleed a rock. thanks.

  • -4

    davestrousers

    When the UK's VAT rate went from 17.5% to 20% we just accepted it. Not a lot else you can do really.

    That's a good point. I wasn't there at the time but reading the news and talking to friends there was none of this hysteria. Now I understand the argument for not having daylight saving time in Japan. It indeed would cause a lot of confusion.

  • 8

    cleo

    there was none of this hysteria

    There is no VAT on food (big item) or children's clothes.

  • 1

    bruinfan

    Well few seemed to mind this extra tax and subsequent wasteful spending increases (much of which will go to construction and other spending for the Olympics, etc.) as an issue during the last elections.

  • -2

    Reckless

    an esteemed study in Italy (footnote to be provided on February 30) found that tax returns declined as sales tax exceeded a certain threshold (maybe 20%)??? there are several reasons, (i) demand falls, (ii) black market flourishes -- oh yeah!, (iii) proprietors keep the tax and make sales "off the books",,, etc cetera

  • 2

    sighclops

    We went from 5% to 10% in Australia about 20 years ago, but there were (and still are) certain exemptions, such as fresh fruit & vegetables. In other words, the hike was offset by cuts in other areas. The problem with this 3% increase is, it's a hike on everything.

  • 1

    Wunderheiler

    When we got the last increase in Germany it was quite funny, many became crazy. In the end shops had to give big discounts after the increase and the people who stayed calm got the benefit of relaxed shopping and cheaper prizes :)

  • 1

    marcelito

    One big difference between consumption tax going up in Japan vs other countries eg. Australia is that there were cuts to a range of other kinds of sales and income taxes to compensate the working population. That is not happening in Japan. Very fundamental difference.

  • 1

    David Foley

    Just more reason to buy less. i dont know if I can get even cheaper though???

  • 3

    ThonTaddeo

    Not really many companies ate the 5% but are now adding the 8%.

    QB is one going from 1000 to 1080. Add in that many will adjust prices upwards to get a nice round number on the price sticker.

    I've even spotted price stickers at the major national chain Book-Off with 10% increases slapped right on top of the old prices. This is on CDs where they probably don't expect to sell them for many months, and rather than implement a 3% bump and print up new stickers for everything on April 1, it looks like they're just taking a part of their inventory and preemptorily raising the prices by 10% right now. It sure does feel strange to see a higher price sticker placed on top of a lower one; usually when something sits unsold for many months, the price drops. And the tax hasn't even come in yet; this is a pure money grab.

    My local supermarket is adjusting to the increase by displaying pre-tax prices rather than tax-included prices. They went around putting lower price tags on all their stuff with the tax to be added at the register. Thing is, the fixed-price items which didn't get relabeled -- 100 yen, 198 yen, 3-for-500, that kind of thing -- now all cost more even now because they're 105, 208, and 3-for-525, soon to be 108, 213, and 3-for-540.

    I'm sure that between now and April 1 -- maybe in the last week of March -- some kind of argument with China or Korea will be cooked up to take people's minds off how the government is bleeding them drier than ever. Abe will appeal to national pride as usual and the useful idiots who vote for him will think, "Well, I may be poorer, but I feel like I live in a strong country again!"

    And the LDP wil laugh all the way to the bank.

  • -5

    falseflagsteve

    Sangetsu03

    I don't have an annual salary, i'm one of the innovators helping Japan recover and grow. I am the boss, something any foreigner with average I.Q can do in Japan. It's an easy place to make money with little red tape. Japan is a paradise for hardworking people and the 3% increase will not effect people like me. If it did, i would work harder and find ways to increase my income.

  • 1

    Cos

    3% overnight is a steep one. That's as if your boss was asking you to renounce to 1 week and half of paid holidays from next year.

    Just more reason to buy less. i dont know if I can get even cheaper though???

    Stopping costly habits like eating ?

    are my housing loan and insurance payments, None of that is affected by the consumption tax increase.

    Don't be impatient, honey ! Everything will be affected. Insurances premiums will go up along the inflation trend. Then the value of your house will stagnate or decrease when less people can afford buying real estate and the market plunges. It may dive much lower than 3%.

  • -1

    Peter Payne

    Falseflagseve, I agree with you, there are tons of opportunities here, and my company is proof of this. We're hiring several new employees this year. The negativity of JT commenters always makes me sad. They're wasting their time in Japan, being so negative and not trying to do anything worthwhile while here.

  • 1

    sangetsu03

    I don't have an annual salary, i'm one of the innovators helping Japan recover and grow. I am the boss, something any foreigner with average I.Q can do in Japan. It's an easy place to make money with little red tape. Japan is a paradise for hardworking people and the 3% increase will not effect people like me. If it did, i would work harder and find ways to increase my income.

    I own a trading company based in Tokyo, and source my goods from suppliers throughout Japan. I export these goods throughout the world. I have managed to increase the size and scale of my business over time, but it has taken hard work to do so. My European customers have to pay taxes on my goods ranging from 25% to 45%. Customers in South America pay even more. Every time these taxes and tariffs get bumped up, my sales decrease. I have made up for this by adding variety and increasing stock, and hunting harder for good deals from local suppliers.

    On the other side of things, the increase in the consumption tax in Japan will have the same effect on people who export goods to here. They will eithet have to find a way to make up for the loss as I have, or simply absorb the loss. This loss decreases their income, which is felt in their local economy, and indirectly affects my sales in their country.

    The revenue from the upcoming tax increase has already been spent on "stimulus" programs to offset the negative economic effects of the yax, meaning that in the short term, the tax will not lighten the government's debt burden by a single yen. In the long run, the tax will only serve to refuce consumption, reduce wages, decrease net tax revenue, and push the national economy a few more steps closer to the brink.

    As Japan is a major importer of Americam, European, and Asian goods, these places will also suffer from the effects of this tax increase. They in turn will have less money to buy goods from Japan. A vicious downward cycle ensues.

  • 3

    cleo

    They're wasting their time in Japan, being so negative and not trying to do anything worthwhile while here.

    Cos the only thing worthwhile is making money?

  • 6

    marcelito

    " I don't have an annual salary, i'm one of the innovators helping Japan recover and grow. I am the boss, "

    You are so absolutely awesome , one day I wanna be an " innovator & boss helping Japan grow " too. Living legend.

  • 0

    bruinfan

    @Peter

    I am going to ask you on this since you are always crowing about how wonderful your business is and how clever you are for starting it. Maybe it is true and maybe it's not. Do this jobs that have been created pay well ... or are they just low paying service jobs that pay about the same as a high school student could get? It makes a big difference.

  • -3

    sangetsu03

    Cos the only thing worthwhile is making money?

    It's not about making money. It is about sailing your own ship, and being able to live up to your full potential or ability, things which are limited when you work for someone else. It is also about seeing the direct results of your work, for better or worse. Money is not the reason for success, or the primary motivator to obtain it, money is just the byproduct. Money doesn't make one rich or successful, just as lack of money doesn't necessarily make you poor.

    For myself, wanting more is not a bad thing, as to get more I have to give more. To sell more, I have to buy more, and to buy more, my suppliers have to make more. To make more, they must by more materials and hire more help. My wanting more helps other to get and have more too.

  • -2

    cleo

    It is about sailing your own ship, and being able to live up to your full potential or ability, things which are limited when you work for someone else.

    So it's still all about working, and working is ultimately about making money. Not everyone can or wants to be an entrepreneur. If everyone insists on being the boss, the whole economy collapses. Not everyone who comes to Japan is here for the work opportunities. There are plenty of worthwhile things people can be doing that don't/won't necessarily make them rich.

    The sneering 'I'm all right Jack' attitude of the 'bosses' on this thread leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. I'm self-employed, I do OK, the extra 3% isn't going to have a dire impact on my lifestyle. But if some people are so busy doing something 'worthwhile' (=raking in the cash) that there's no time to stop and spare a thought for those for whom the tax hike will have a disproportionate impact... well, I can do a bit of sneering of my own.

  • -2

    sangetsu03

    If everyone insists on being the boss, the whole economy collapses.

    This is a great misconception. America has the world's largest economy, and the largest number of millionaires. Most people don't know that small busineses make up 99% of the American economy, that 80% of American millionaires are small business people (not bankers, executives, etc.), and that 70% of American millionaires are first-generation rich. It is the economies which rely too much on their large industries are more likely to face collapse.

  • -1

    cleo

    I don't see how your point, that 80% of American millionaires are small business people and 99% of the American economy is made up of small businesses, in any way makes my point, that if everyone insists on being the boss the whole economy collapses, a 'great misconception'.

    99% of Americans are not bosses. Nowhere near. if your small business employs 2 people, then you have 1 boss and 2 non-bosses. A small business with one boss and no non-bosses is not a small business, it's a freelance/self-employed person. We self-employed may be an important part of the economy, but we aren't the ones running the transport services/supermarkets/hospitals/communications services/logistics etc etc we and the rest of the population rely on. Without them, with their millions of non-bosses, we'd all be in shtuck.

  • 4

    bicultural

    Most people don't know that small busineses make up 99% of the American economy

    No, sangatsu, 99% of JOBS, not the economy. Those are two different things.

  • -5

    sangetsu03

    I don't see how your point, that 80% of American millionaires are small business people and 99% of the American economy is made up of small businesses, in any way makes my point, that if everyone insists on being the boss the whole economy collapses, a 'great misconception'.

    And you will go on with your life, such as it is, taking the crumbs from your master's table, and complaining endlessly to everyone when these are not sufficient. You will complain about how the 1% have it all, and the 99% "sit in the middle and suck on it" without ever understanding that the only barrier between you and the top 1% is self-imposed. You will be used and abused, and blame anyone and everyone for your situation, except, of course, yourself. You will vote in elections for "change", believing that because someone calls himself a conservative or a liberal, or a communist, that he will somehow care about you and support you, when in reality you are simply licking the hand of yet another master, who will take as much as he can from you, and give you as little as possible in return. You are part of the inert of humanity, as most people are; the sheep in the fold, held forever in sway by the shepherd and his dog. Your voice is the voice of the waves, which is always heard, but never listened to.

    I am my own boss, I am my own man. I don't take pleasure in lording it over others, which would be a waste of time. I lord it over myself, knowing that no matter what I do and have done, I could do and could have done better. The only limits I have are determined by my willpower, or lack thereof. I am as successful as I work to be. I can't do all that I want, but I can try, which is more than most people do.

    Simply put, there are those that do, and those that don't. The world belongs to the former. It's not a matter of education, strength, good looks, or other superficialities, it is simply a matter of choice. Make the choice, follow it through, work hard. If you fail, try try again.

    Think about where you work and who you work for. Who started the company you work for? Why was it started? How was it started? If the person who started the company thought like you do, you and your co-workers would be working somewhere else, wouldn't you? If everyone thought like you do, then where would everyone work?

  • -1

    cleo

    you will go on with your life, such as it is, taking the crumbs from your master's table, and complaining endlessly to everyone when these are not sufficient. You will complain about how the 1% have it all, and the 99% "sit in the middle and suck on it"

    Pardon? What crumbs are you talking about? What master? Where do you see me taking crumbs, or complaining? or sucking?

    You will be used and abused

    Nope.

    I am my own boss, I am my own man.

    Wow, good for you!!!!!

    !!!!

    and again

    !!!!

    Think about where you work

    At home

    and who you work for.

    Me. That's what self-employed means.

    Who started the company you work for? Why was it started? How was it started?

    Er...me? Though it's not a company, it's Me.

    Why was it started? How was it started?

    Because I enjoy translating and I'm pretty good at it. I bought a fax machine and a typewriter (it was a long time ago).

    If the person who started the company thought like you do, you and your co-workers would be working somewhere else, wouldn't you?

    Well, since I started the company which isn't a company because it's just Me, I suppose I do think like Me...haven't got any co-workers, unless you count the cat, who provides light relief.

    If everyone thought like you do, then where would everyone work?

    I've never claimed that everyone should think like me, in fact if you reread my post you'll see that I in fact say the exact opposite, that you can't have an economy where everyone is the boss. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with people who start their own companies and become materially successful and create jobs for other human creatures less wonderful and/or driven than they are. More power to you. What I'm saying is that you can't run a business where everyone is a boss; someone has to do the other stuff. And anyone who looks down on someone doing a menial job to the best of their ability is in my opinion a lowlife and a failure, no matter how 'successful' their business might be.

    And to return to my original point, those who are too busy being bosses to spare a thought for those for whom this coming tax hike will be significant need, in my opinion, a good hard slap up the back of the head and a month spent living without the benefit of the labour of the minimum wagers.

  • 3

    Cos

    I am my own boss.

    You're that guy in Cuba or the one in North Korea ?

    The only limits I have are determined by my willpower

    So you don't need customers, that's the advantage of being a commie dictator. Wonderful, because for the other entrepreneurs and business owners, this pest (the market !) is a capricious boss. Make most those potential clients poorer of just 3%, or simply depress them with Abenomics, and the marketplace gets deserted.

    i'm one of the innovators helping Japan recover and grow.

    At best, you're just grabbing a bigger share of the cake, while the Japanese cake gets smaller.

  • 0

    falseflagsteve

    @ cos

    I make my living from innovating that brings money into Japan by providing taxes, employment with above average pay and conditions for Japanese who I employ and provide a decent standard of living for my close Japanese family. I am doing well because I keep providing services and products nobody else is and if they do I diversify. It is called being on the ball, I love my job as it is also my hobby. Those who criticise do so out of a lack of understanding and maybe jealousy.

    We are all different in our capabilities, but any foreign person in Japan with average ability and skills who is not lazy can do well here rather than moan about the place and their financial situation.

  • -3

    cleo

    Those who criticise do so out of a lack of understanding

    You realise that what's being criticised isn't your wealth and success, but your lack of understanding regarding the fact that for the people at the bottom of the pile this tax hike is going to hurt?

  • 0

    falseflagsteve

    @Cleo

    Of course i understand what it is like for those who have trouble paying bills, i was like that myself most of my childhood and much of my adult life. I got out of being poor by taking two jobs to stop being skint then working for myself. It takes hard work to get in a better position,. I know that is not possible for some due to age related and maybe physical reasons. However there are many able bodied foreigners here complaining about the increases and no pay rise for years. I expect most or all of these are better educated than myself yet don't take advantage of how easy it is to make a great living in Japan.

  • -1

    cleo

    Of course i understand what it is like for those who have trouble paying bills

    Sorry, but your compassion tends to get hidden under all this 'i will not notice the difference' 'the 3% increase will not effect people like me' - not to mention the people are only poor because they don't work as hard as me attitude.

    Some people may feel the pinch but this is a small amount of people and there are always ways to save money.

    People who are already feeling the pinch will feel it even more. When people are already using those ways to save money, it's very hard to find more ways.

  • -1

    falseflagsteve

    @cleo

    Because i state facts that 3% means nothing to me doesn't mean i cannot understand the issues. I have never said people are poor because they do not work as hard as me. I could work three hours a day and make a lot more than someone working two low paid jobs. That is not the issue that i am talking about. It is educated foreign people living in Japan and not being able to make a good living and having to worry about a tiny increase in the cost of living. I never found an easier place to make a good living than Japan, it is so easy it is almost laughable.

  • -2

    cleo

    That is not the issue that i am talking about. It is educated foreign people living in Japan and not being able to make a good living and having to worry about a tiny increase in the cost of living

    Who on this thread is it that you fancy is doing that? I don't see any 'educated foreign people living in Japan and not being able to make a good living'. I see (what I take to be) ordinary folk pointing out that those on low incomes (not themselves) will have a harder time of it (which they will) and that some businesses are already putting their prices up ahead of the tax hike, which is a dubious business practice whether you can afford the extra or not. And then I see self-professed 'bosses' boasting about how good they have it, sneering at those who are 'not trying to do anything worthwhile' and at the same time complaining about how the increased tax will affect their sales. Not to mention sangetsu03's extraordinary diatribe about 'taking the crumbs from your master's table'. No idea where that came from.

  • 3

    Strangerland

    Not everyone can be the boss. Pure logic defies that idea. Some people have to do the work, it's as simple as that. And not everyone is suited to start their own business - being proficient at some skill does not mean they will be proficient at managing a business, or at the people skills that are required to manage staff and/or clients and customers. On top of this, some people would rather have the stability of a regular wage than risk this stability by running a business.

    Some people think they are something special for starting a business. That's a load of crap. They are just something different. Employers need workers as much as workers need employers. It's a symbiotic relationship, neither can live without the other. Therefore the best run businesses are those who take care of their employees, same as the best employees are those who work hard for their employes. Either side that expects the other to live up to this without living up to their end of the deal is setting themselves up for failure. This I believe is why the Japanese economy is flailing - employers have for too long expected employees to give, give and give, without giving themselves. So they have employees that work long, but don't work hard or efficiently, and there is little innovation because there is little incentive to innovate. This in turn bleeds out to all areas of society, and leads to the doldrums that is the Japanese economy. Without hope, people will not try to excel. And when people don't try to excel, everything stagnates.

  • 0

    inkochi

    Yes, please panic as much as possible - not because of things going up because of a sudden 8% tax on them, as the tax is not sudden. Already there is 5%, which simply is being raised to 8%. Do some maths, and the increase is not even 3%! actually it is about 2.192% on current listed prices of 商品.

    Panic, because there are lots of robbers and idiots in businesses, media and government who see only 8% and shall either mistakenly raise prices accordingly or just simply rort.

    What to do? Easy - receive and check receipts. If that is too complicated, go to Daiso or Seria 100 yen shops and notice how in April they become 108 yen shops instead of being the the current 105 yen shops.

    Of course I am not happy about the increase in consumption tax, but I was far less happy about the sudden mandatory 9.8% reduction in my salary two years ago in April 2012 ostensibly to help pay for the Tohoku Tsunami reconstruction - other similar public employers compromised with 5% reductions. The office here tells me that in April our salaries shall 'return' to what they were before, "...kamo shirimasen!"

    So, yeah, we shall all take a hit and probably the bigger hits will happen early. I sympathise with a lot of people who may take a bigger hit than me.

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