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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 March 11 - 17  > Richest people double their assets in the last decade
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2015 March 11 - 17 [ECONOMY]

Richest people double their assets in the last decade

March 12, 2015
A handful of the richest people in Japan have doubled the amount of their financial assets in the past decade. Meanwhile, the number of families on welfare hit a record high.

A survey conducted by Nomura Research Institute shows that the amount of assets of people whose personal property exceeds 500 million yen totaled 73 trillion yen in 2013. The total amount increased by 1.9 times in the last 10 years. These people account for 0.1% of the Japanese population.

In the meantime, more and more people have sunk into poverty. The welfare ministry’s latest survey indicates that the number of households receiving welfare benefits has nearly tripled from 601,925 in 1995 to 1,618,196 in December 2014.

The Abe government is moving ahead with its economic policy dubbed “Abenomics”, trying to boost the stock prices of large companies.

According to the 2015 Forbes Billionaires List, the wealthiest Japanese person is Yanai Tadashi (41st in the world), chairman of the Fast Retailing Co. which operates the Uniqlo chain worldwide. The value of his property has risen by 1.5 times from 13.3 billion dollars in 2013 to 20.2 billion dollars this year.

The Financial Times issued on January 28 criticized Abenomics for helping only big businesses and the wealthy to gain more profits and wealth. It pointed out that Tokyo’s economic policy of lowering interest rates and weakening the yen has diminished family incomes leading to dampened domestic demand.

At a Lower House plenary session on February 17, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo expressed doubts about reports of a widening gap between rich and poor in the country, saying, “There are various data in regard to this issue.”

The prime minister appears to be too busy supporting billionaires to see plain facts.

Past related article:
> Abenomics brings about zero GDP growth [February 17, 2015]
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