Over four in five Japanese are regularly penny-pinching

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@nifty recently published a survey looking at economising and ecology.

My home air conditioners make me worry about both economising and ecology; my wife runs them about one or two degrees too cold for me, and I hate to think how much they are chewing up in terms of both electricty bill and general environmental impact with respect to not just CO2 from the electricity generated, but also pumping out warm air into the atmosphere.

Here’s a rather glum-looking eco pig assaulting a little kid:

Earth Day Tokyo 2010
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Saving domestic electricity in September

Have you bought a battery-powered rechargable fan? graph of japanese statisticsjapan.internet.com reported on the second regular survey into saving electricity by goo Research. The first survey may be found here. Note that the dates of the survey indicate that it was conducted after TEPCO removed their restrictions on electricity usage in Tokyo and the surrounding areas, and after Tokyo had survived the summer without any blackouts or even brownouts.

Demographics

Between the 12th and 14th of September 2011 1,087 members of the goo Research completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.9% of the sample were male, 15.9% in their teens, 18.5% in their twenties, 21.5% in their thirties, 16.2% in their forties, 15.7% in their fifties, and 12.1% aged sixty or older.

There seems a popular misconception amongst some foreigners in Japan that the only effects of the electricity-saving activities was cutting down domestic wastage and making people go home on time, thus proving that the electricity provided by nuclear power stations is not really necessary. However, this ignores the under-reported (or just plain ignored as inconvenient) problems that small businesses had, many forced to drastically cut back production to avoid fines of 1,000,000 yen per hour each time they failed to use 15% less than the previous year during peak times – unfortunately, I cannot find a story online about it. In July the current Prime Minister (he was Finance Minister then) highlighted that power costs (due to increase 10% for Tokyo this coming year) may drive firms abroad; indeed this has already started.

In addition, tonight I saw a short item on a news program about electricity pricing and other issues. First, electricity prices are set by law to cover assets, salaries, fuel and promotional activities, then 3% profit on the top. Thus, the generating boards are under no pressure to cut staffing costs (the average director, usually ex-finance ministry, gets just under 40 million yen a year) and can actively buy assets to increase their profits, while passing on all the costs to the user. Next, there is a small degree of competition from independent companies, but they are only allowed to target large users, and access to the electricity grid for them costs about 7 times that in the US. They showed that even with these restrictions, by converting a large-scale housing complex to the independent supplier, who offers smart meters to each householder, the price to the consumer was about 5% less per unit, and by using data from the smart meter and matching usage to tariffs, they could save a further five percent, despite all the handicaps described above.
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Saving electricity with one’s home PC

With the very real threat of brown-outs, if not complete black-outs in not just the Tokyo area but Nagoya too, saving electricity is a commonly-heard term, with the government setting a 15% cut as a target, people are looking to even cut down electricity use of their home computers, the subject of a recent survey from goo Research and reported on by japan.internet.com.

Demographics

Between the 9th and 13th of May 2011 1,088 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.3% of the sample were male, 16.1% in their teens, 18.2% in their twenties, 21.4% in their thirties, 16.2% in their forties, 15.8% in their fifties, and 12.3% aged sixty or older.

I do just all of the PC power-saving activites except for turning off my router, as it is built-in and hidden in a box in the back of a cupboard.

Talking of power-saving, at work we’ve been asked to ensure our computers are set to go into standby mode after 30 minutes of inactivity, and I saw that Panasonic are releasing a power management utility for their Let’s Note portable computer range that will force a plugged-in computer to switch to battery power at predefined times, to reduce the load over peak hours.
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Had enough of your eco lifestyle?

< ?PHP include "/home/kenyn/public_html/libchart/libchart.php";$chart = new PieChart(400, 200);$chart->setTitle(“Do you tire of everyday eco activities?”);
$chart->addPoint(new Point(“Often”, 10.2));
$chart->addPoint(new Point(“Sometimes”, 45.4));
$chart->addPoint(new Point(“Never”, 44.4));

$chart->render(“/home/kenyn/public_html/image10/eco-tire.png”);
?>
Do you tire of everyday eco activities? graph of japanese statisticsThat was the question posed by iShare in this survey into being tired of eco life. Note that eco here refers to both ecology and economising.

Demographics

Over the 10th and 11th of November 2010 1,509 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 53.9% of the sample were male, 16.2% in their twenties, 32.7% in their thirties, 37.6% in their forties, and 13.5% in their fifties. Furthermore, all of them lived within one of the cities of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Osaka, Kyoto or Kobe.

I’m definitely fed up hearing about eco, and I’m dreading the day that they tell us that we should unplug out phone rechargers at work before we go home at night. I worked out that at an average hourly rate it actually costs more money to bend under the desk and spend 10 seconds plugging and unplugging versus the bleed from an average charger.
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Consumption in Japan

Compared to a year ago, how has your desire to purchase changed? graph of japanese statisticsEven though consumer prices have dropped 2.4% over the last year, consumer spending is flat here, so this recent survey from MyVoice into consumption attitudes in Japan is very timely. Also, today I read an interesting article on Observing Japan about amongst other things how Keynesian economics says consumption is the key to economic growth, but after ten years of uncertainty in Japan, how can the DPJ pry open people’s wallets?

Demographics

Over the first five days of September 2009 14,139 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private online questionnaire. 54% of the sample were female, 2% in their teens, 14% in their twenties, 34% in their thirties, 30% in their forties, and 20% aged fifty or older.

I’m all too aware of cutting back and delaying spending, not helped by having a 30% cut in bonuses in the summer, which meant that there was very little money left over after paying the bonus portion of the mortgage. Our home washing machine is liable to conk out at any moment with the drum disintegrating, the buttons losing their responsiveness, and the spin cycle making funny noises, but… The rice cooker pot is also way past replacement time, and the microwave’s been a bit dodgy too… If only I had ten times as many visitors I could easily pay it all off! Anyone want to buy an advertisement on What Japan Thinks?
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Saving money in Japan

Last year, how much did you manage to economise at home? graph of japanese statisticsWith the economic gloom building, here is a timely look with MyVoice at economising in daily life.

Demographics

Over the first five days of January 2009 13,932 members of the MyVoice internet community successfully completed an online questionnaire. 54% of the sample were female, 1% were in their teens, 14% in their twenties, 37% in their thirties, 30% in their forties, and 18% aged fifty or older.

I was saving money on most things last year, and this year will see further savings given the possibility of all overtime being stopped and having had the more immediate shock of getting a 20,000 yen gas bill for last month.

Of course, rather than economising I want more income (AdSense has died a death!), and to that end I have three new web site ideas in the pipeline and one renewal of an older property, but more of that in other posts!

Finally, before I forget, be sure to check out Nihon Hacks for how to save money in Japan.
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Cutting back on mobile phone bills in 2007

Thought about changing mobile provider to save money? graph of japanese opinionNEPRO JAPAN recently published the results of a survey into economising on one’s mobile phone bill. On one day in mid-December of last year they questioned 3,425 people across the three main Japanese carriers, DoCoMo’s iMode, Softbank’s Yahoo! Keitai and au and TU-KA’s EZweb, by means of a public poll available through the main menus of all three carriers’ systems. 44% of the sample were male; 3% were teenagers, 35% in their twenties, 44% in their thirties, and 18% aged forty and over.

Similar questions were asked of a similar group around the same time last year, so one can perhaps observe a trend over the past year.

I’ve actually now worked out how to read my mobile phone bill, I hope, and with all my discounts and whatever in place, it costs me around ¥4,000 per month for just a little talk time, some surfing, and free email exchange with my wife.
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Cutting back on mobile phone bills

Are you conscious of economising on your mobile bill? graph of japanese opinionNEPRO JAPAN Co, Ltd recently carried out a survey to see what people do to economise on their mobile phone bills. For one day at the start of December they questioned 5,013 people across the three main Japanese carriers, DoCoMo’s iMode, Vodafone’s Vodafone live! and au and TU-KA’s EZweb, by means of a public poll available through the main menus of all three carriers’ systems. 40% of the sample were male; 4% were teenagers, 41% in their twenties, 39% in their thirties, and 16% aged forty and over.

Note that this one-day public questionnaire will tend to attract the people who are already heavy users of mobile web services, although in this case this is probably a good thing.

Mobile phone bills in Japan are rather difficult for me to understand; even something as simple as displaying how much you’d be paying if you were on the most basic plan as a means of comparison would help. Even better would be a recommendation of your best plan based on your last six month’s worth of charges.
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