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每日英語跟讀 Ep.920: Saving Is Out of Style in Japan 在日本 儲蓄已經退流行

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

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每日英語跟讀 Ep.920: In Japan, Saving Is Out of Style

Takazumi Fukuoka should be exactly what Japan needs to get its economy moving again. An art director at a small online media company, he has a free-spending social life, and as a part-time D.J., he often buys records in the music shops of Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya district. He eats and drinks out regularly, too.

福岡孝純應該就是日本經濟再動起來需要的人。在小型網路媒體公司任藝術總監,福岡過著出手闊綽的社交生活,兼職DJ的他常在東京時髦的澀谷音樂商店買唱片,固定在外吃飯喝酒。

But his salary has barely budged in recent years. So he is spending every yen he earns.

但這幾年薪水文風不動,因此他花掉賺得的每一文錢。

“I’m not saving,” said Mr. Fukuoka, 30. “There are people my age who are married with kids and have their own houses, but I don’t have any of that.”

30歲的福岡說:「我不存錢,同年紀的人有的結婚、生小孩和擁有自己的房子,但我都沒有。」

It is an increasingly common refrain in Japan – and one that complicates efforts to revitalize the country’s economy.

這種現象在日本日益普遍,也讓復甦經濟的努力更為困難。

The country’s savings rate, long one of the highest, is now below zero. By comparison, the savings rate in Germany is forecast to be near 10 percent this year.

日本的儲蓄率一向排名世界第一,現在卻是零以下。反觀德國今年的儲蓄率預估接近10%。

For decades, many Japanese hoarded cash, especially after World War II, when protections like unemployment insurance and public pensions were scarce.

數十年來,許多日本人都有儲蓄習慣,特別是二戰後,當時像失業保險和年金這類保障極其匱乏。

New Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to inject life into the lackluster economy, in part by getting people to spend more.

現在,日本首相安倍晉三正試圖為了無生氣的經濟注入活力,方法之一就是鼓勵民眾提高消費。

Yet stagnant wages mean many cannot do so without shortchanging their futures. Japan’s large aging population – a quarter of the population is now over 65 – is already spending saving, and younger people aren’t filling the void.

但薪資不動如山,意謂若考慮到未來,許多人就無法響應這項呼籲。日本龐大的老年人口(四分之一人口逾65歲)已在花用儲蓄,年輕一代又無法填補缺口。

About 40 percent of unmarried adults do not save, nor do 30 percent of families, according to the Central Council for Financial Services Information, a research group A decade ago, the ratio for both groups was about 10 percentage points lower.

據研究團體「金融廣報中央委員會」統計,日本約40%未婚成人及30%家庭是月光族,比10年前各多10個百分點。

Japan’s drop in savings has coincided with an erosion in pay and job security for many workers, especially younger ones.

日人儲蓄減少適值許多工人薪資與工作保障下降之際,尤其是年輕人。

Recently announced pay increases at Toyota, Panasonic and others apply to unionized, full-time employees. Many who don’t belong to that group aren’t spending more; they just have less to set aside. Now, there are growing fears about the ability of an overburdened pension system to support them in retirement.

最近豐田、松下等公司宣布加薪,但僅及於加入工會的全職員工。不屬於這群人的許多員工仍然無法

多花錢;而且能存的錢更少。如今,大家還愈來愈擔心,負擔過重的年金系統無法支撐他們的退休生活。

Mitsuaki Yokoyama, who writes best-selling books on how to save money, promises to help readers with low incomes stabilize their finances. In the past, his audience was people in their 50s and 60s.

橫山光昭著有多本教人如何存錢的暢銷書,承諾幫助低收入讀者穩定財務狀況。以往,他的讀者多是五、六十歲的人。

“Now there are more young people,” he said. “Their salaries aren’t going up and they don’t know what to do.”

他說:「現在有較多的年輕人。他們薪資不漲,不知如何是好。」

Wages have been stuck at the levels of two decades ago.

日本薪資一直停留在20年前的水平。

“Between my wife and I, we have two incomes, so I feel like we should be able to save more,” said Kozo Shimoda, 37, who manages the online shopping site of an apparel company. “But our savings isn’t increasing, so I don’t feel satisfied or secure.”

37歲的下田耕三管理一家服裝公司的網購網站,他說:「我和妻子有兩份薪水,我以為我們應該可以儲蓄更多。但我們的儲蓄不見增加,所以我不滿意,也沒有安全感。」

The national household savings rate slipped to minus 1.3 percent in the last fiscal year, according to the government. The situation adds an extra layer of complexity to the task facing Mr. Abe.

政府資料顯示,上一會計年度全國家庭儲蓄下滑至負1.3%,這為安倍復甦經濟的任務又添增另一層複雜性。

Japan isn’t about to run out of spare cash soon. About 1,400 trillion yen, or $11.5 trillion, of household financial assets remain tucked away. One goal of Mr. Abe’s economic program is to get this idle cash back into the hands of individuals in the form of wage increases or higher returns to investors.

日本並非不久就會耗盡儲蓄。日本的家庭儲蓄金融資產仍有約1400兆日圓,或11.5兆美元。安倍經濟計畫的目標之一,即是讓這些閒置現金以加薪或提高投資報酬的方式,重回個人手中。

But Mr. Abe’s aim is a delicate one, because the same pile of savings is supporting Japan’s huge government debt.

不過,安倍的目標並不容易達成,因為同樣一批儲蓄也支撐著政府的龐大債務。

Naohiko Baba, the chief Japan economist at Goldman Sachs, worries what will happen if both households and companies stop saving. At the equivalent of two and a half years of economic output, Japan’s debt load is the heaviest in the world. Yet about 90 percent of the debt is held locally, meaning that Japan is, in effect, lending to itself.

高盛首席日本經濟學家馬場直彥擔心家庭和企業停止儲蓄的後果。日本國債已相當於該國兩年半的經濟產值,債務負擔全球最重。不過,這項債務約九成是本國持有,意謂日本實際上是借錢給自己。

Economists say that is one reason Japan has avoided the kind of bond market pressure that has sent less indebted countries like Greece into crisis.

經濟學家說,這是日本得以避開債券市場壓力的原因之一,債市壓力已讓負債較低國家如希臘陷入危機。

Mr. Baba said Japan could run short of the savings it needs to fund the debt locally by about 2020. After that, it would need to turn to foreign investors – a potentially destabilizing shift.

馬場說,日本資助國債所需儲蓄約莫會在2020年出現缺口。其後日本即須向外國投資人借貸,這是一個潛在的不穩定變化。

“Once we have to rely on foreign investors to finance the debt,” he said, “that could be the beginning of a disaster for Japan.”

他說:「一旦我們必須仰賴外國投資人融通債務,這會是日本災難的開端。」

Source article: http://scrapbase.blogspot.com/2015/04/in-japan-saving-is-out-of-style.html

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