The Downside of Excessive Savings for Japan

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Japan is a closed culture. The people tend to stick to themselves and rarely speak out or do anything that would shed light on an individual. I once read a quote about the way Japanese people view the rights of an individual, “In America they say you have the right to free speech. In Japan, they say they have the right to silence.”

Being conservative has had its disadvantages for the Japanese society as of late. The birth rate is declining and a lack of family time due to excessive work hours has plagued the economy. Japanese workers are also not using their paid work holidays and have too much money saved. A large percentage of the countries GDP is made up of spending, and with the Japanese not using their cash, the country struggles to progress.

Too much savings? How is this possible?

According to Bloomberg.com, “Getting them to take all their time off would create 1.5 million jobs and pump 11.8 trillion yen a year into the economy”. That’s 130 billion dollars of money into the economy if the Japanese workers would just take some time off and relax.

To promote spending, the government stepped in and created Silver Week. A five day holiday from September 19-23, Silver Week will hopefully allow the Japanese people to get out of the office and open up their wallets.

Their thinking works. With five days off I’m heading to Tokyo by bus. I’ll easily be throwing a couple of hundred dollars into the Japanese economy this weekend.

The idea of a government promoting spending through free time is unique and shows that working fifty hours a week isn’t always the best way to achieve success.

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