The Research Institute for Advancement of Living Standards (RIALS), a think tank of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), announced the results of its 25th Questionnaire Survey Relating to the Jobs and Livelihood of Workers on June 15, 2013.
By regularly gauging the attitudes of workers toward business trends in Japan, jobs, and livelihood, this survey aims to clarify business, employment, and living condition trends and obtain basic materials for the study of policy issues.
This year's survey, which was conducted via the Internet in early April, targeted employees of private companies aged from 20 to their early 60s and living in the Tokyo metropolitan and Kansai regions; 2,000 people responded. The questionnaire consisted of a fixed survey on such topics as workers' perception of business conditions and attitudes to prices and work, a quasi-fixed survey on household economic conditions, and a specific-theme survey on outlook for economic conditions in three years' time and wages in five years' time, as well as voting behavior in the House of Representatives general election.
The survey results revealed that although business and management conditions are expected to improve over the next year, regarding current wages, the ratio of respondents saying that their wages had declined from a year ago was 26.8%, which was greater than the ratio saying their wages had increased (22.6%) and suggests that signs of improvement remain dim.
Regarding the household budget, the ratio of respondents saying that their household income will decline over the next year did improve somewhat. However, the ratio of those saying their household income had registered a deficit was 30.4%, the same level as last time (30.6%), and 79.8% of respondents said they were cutting back on expenditures. So the household budget situation remains severe. Furthermore, there was a high ratio of respondents aged from 40 to their early 60s who had a household income of less than 4 million yen in the year and were employed on a nonregular basis.
Regarding the outlook for three years ahead, 35.8% of respondents expected the economy to pick up, but only 37.1% of them expected their own wage income to increase. In addition, regarding their outlook for their own wages in five years' time, only 30.0% of respondents expected their wages to be higher than the current wages of workers five years their senior, and 23.8% expected their wages to be lower.
The survey shows clearly that the current administration's package of policies designed to break away from deflation and regenerate the economy, dubbed "Abenomics," is not creating a situation in which workers can feel optimism in either the short or medium term.
※RENGO-RIALS was founded by the national center, RENGO, on December 1, 1987, as a think tank for working people. It conducts a wide range of surveys and research on such topics as economic, social, industrial, and labour problems in Japan and other countries with the aim of contributing substantially to the livelihood improvement of workers and their families, the sound development of the Japanese economy, and employment stability.