The rate of Japan’s household spending has nosedived at record levels on the back of nationwide measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19 which kept millions home for weeks on end.

Government figures released in Japan show household spending across the country declined by 16.2% in May when compared to a year earlier.

The fall was the fastest such descent in household spending since data was first collected in 2001.

Some of the biggest drops could be seen in spending on hotels, transportation and eating out; all linked to the massive hit taken by the domestic tourism industry as the virus took hold.

Money spent on face masks, predictably, increased.

As Japan moves into the summer months, however, it is anticipated that the virus will start having an effect on jobs, and that household spending will remain low as people wait to see how if the economy improves as lockdown measures are gradually eased.

To add to Japan’s financial misery, economists are now predicting a contraction in the economy of more than 20% year-on-year, in part as a result of the ongoing US-China trade war and a a hike in the consumption tax hike that has now been in place since October, 2019.

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