Cost of living: The shock of rising prices in Japan

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As a child growing up in Japan, things very rarely seemed to get more expensive.

My favourite lunch was always available for a 500 yen coin ($3.90; £3.10) and it remained that way until 2021. The same for shoes or clothes, little changed.

I was taught to save, save and save, and repeatedly warned that the value of our family home had collapsed in the 1990s, when the property market crashed.

This painful financial loss meant my parents, and many others like them, were never able to sell their house again or upgrade it.

But when prices for everyday items don’t increase, people don’t actively spend money.

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Companies, in turn, respond by not increasing salaries, which lowers consumer demand and prices further. When you cannot get a pay rise, you don’t rush out to go shopping very often.

Taken altogether, this slows an entire country’s economic growth – a vicious cycle Japan has been trapped in for decades.

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