TOKYO, Japan (AFP) – The average Japanese family has 16.64 million yen ($207,000) in savings, according to official data, more than twice the average annual salary in the nation of 128 million.
The number for 2011 was a 0.4 percent increase from a year earlier, with households of two or more people holding average debt of 4.62 million yen.
The Japanese have long enjoyed a reputation as disciplined savers, as rates generally declined in the West in recent decades, including the United States where economists and politicians have bemoaned low savings rates.
However, the internal affairs ministry data also point to a widening savings rate gap, as the nation looks to kickstart its moribund economy and deal with a rapidly ageing population, which has put increasing stress on public coffers.
Two-thirds of households saved less than the average 16.64 million yen, the data said, with median savings standing at 9.91 million yen.
Some 10.2 percent of the top-saving families had more than 40 million yen each, while the bottom 11.2 percent had a cushion of less than one million yen, the ministry said.
Savings were held in various forms, including cash in bank accounts, life insurance policies, and stock and bond holdings. – Agence France-Presse