The Flow of Household Funds in Japan

Charles Yuji Horioka
JEL codes: 
Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance, Japan, Public Policy Review, Vol.4, No.1, December 2008

In this paper, I consider why Japans household saving rate was so high in the past and why it has shown a downward trend in more recent years, and based on this analysis, I project future trends in Japans household saving rate. To preview my main findings, I find, first, that Japans household saving rate used to be high but that it has declined sharply in recent years and that it is no longer high in either absolute or relative terms. Moreover, Japans household saving rate will continue its decline due to the rapid aging of her population and other factors and may well become zero or negative within a few years. However, the governments fiscal deficits (government dissaving) as well as corporate investment in plant and equipment can be expected to decline at the same time, and moreover, there is always the option of borrowing from abroad, so the sharp decline in the household saving rate will not necessarily cause any problems.