Japanese summer holiday spending to hit record low due to virus: poll

22, Jul. 2020

TOKYO, Kyodo - Japanese adults are planning to spend 65,157 yen ($600) on average during their summer holidays, down 2,914 yen from a year earlier and the lowest level on record, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a private survey showed Tuesday.

The amount was the lowest since Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. started conducting the survey in 2006, in yet another indication of sluggish personal spending in the world's third-largest economy.

A Shinkansen bullet train platform at JR Tokyo Station is crowded on Aug. 9, 2019, with people heading to their hometowns and resort areas for summer holidays. (Kyodo)
A Shinkansen bullet train platform at JR Tokyo Station is crowded on Aug. 9, 2019, with people heading to their hometowns and resort areas for summer holidays. (Kyodo)

According to the survey, 45.6 percent of respondents said they would spend less this summer than the previous year, with 63.0 percent saying their spending would be curtailed as they would refrain from going out due to the pandemic.

The survey also showed that 32.9 percent would save money and that 26.2 percent have less income.

Asked how they would spend their summer holidays, 60.6 percent of the respondents said they will relax at home, up from 56.2 percent in 2019.

Only 8.5 percent said they plan to visit their hometowns to meet parents or relatives, down from 14.6 percent.

Meanwhile, 7.1 percent plan to travel in Japan, down from 13.4 percent, and only 0.5 percent plan to travel abroad, down from 3.6 percent in 2019.

Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance, said the results were not surprising because many companies had cut summer bonuses.

"We are watching whether the Go To Travel Campaign can curb a further deterioration in consumer sentiment," Kodama said, referring to the government's travel subsidy initiative.

Under the 1.35 trillion yen program to spur domestic tourism, the government will subsidize up to half of travel expenses, including accommodation and transport fees.

But economists cast doubt over its effectiveness after the government decided to exclude trips to and from Tokyo as well as residents of the capital from the initiative amid concern that the planned nationwide campaign could add to a resurgence of virus infections in Japan.

The online survey, conducted between June 15 and 18, received responses from 1,120 men and women aged between 20 and 59. (Kyodo)