Japanese Households Shift to Stocks Amid Inflation

Japanese Households Shift to Stocks Amid Inflation

Hiroko Tanaka
2 min read

Japan's Households Embrace Stocks and Investment Trusts Amid Inflation Surge

Japan's households are moving away from their traditional reliance on cash and deposits in response to persistent inflation, as per recent Bank of Japan (BOJ) data. The share of stocks and investment trusts in total household assets reached a record 19.7% by the end of March, rising from ¥2,199 trillion ($13.7 trillion). This shift is partly fueled by the escalating asset prices and increased trading activity, with investment trusts experiencing a significant 31.5% surge. The combined value of assets in both stocks and investment trusts soared to a new peak, amounting to ¥432.5 trillion.

Historically, Japanese households have leaned towards cash and deposits during deflationary periods and low interest rates. Nonetheless, the recent inflation upsurge has sparked a change in behavior. The percentage of cash and deposits in total assets has plummeted to 50.9%, marking its lowest point since December 2007. Economists highlight that while this trend bodes well for the BOJ's endeavor to stabilize prices, the absence of wage growth could potentially hamper robust consumer spending.

Key Takeaways

  • Japanese households are transitioning from cash to stocks and investment trusts due to relentless inflation.
  • The proportion of stocks and investment trusts in household assets achieved a record 19.7% by the end of March.
  • Aggregate assets in stocks and investment trusts hit an unprecedented high of ¥432.5 trillion.
  • The percentage of cash and deposits in total assets dropped to 50.9%, marking its lowest level since December 2007.
  • Younger Japanese investors are becoming more active, but sluggish wage growth might curtail consumer spending.


The shift in Japanese household investments from cash to stocks and investment trusts, driven by inflation, exerts an impact on financial markets and the BOJ. This transition benefits asset managers and stock exchanges but poses a risk to consumer spending due to stagnant wages. In the short term, increased market liquidity and volatility are anticipated, while the long-term implications encompass potential economic instability if wage growth remains subdued.

Did You Know?

  • Investment Trusts: An investment trust is a form of collective investment scheme, often structured as a publicly traded company. It pools funds from numerous investors to procure a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other assets. In Japan, the mounting interest in investment trusts is partly attributed to their capacity to offer diversification and professional management, which holds appeal during periods of market volatility and inflation.
  • Inflation's Impact on Asset Allocation: Inflation pertains to the pace at which the general level of prices for goods and services increases, eroding the purchasing power of currency over time. Concerning Japanese households, enduring inflation has led to a shift away from cash and deposits, which typically yield low returns incapable of keeping up with inflation, towards assets like stocks and investment trusts that offer potential for higher returns and can act as a hedge against inflation.
  • Deflationary Mindset and Behavioral Shift: Japan has historically encountered prolonged periods of deflation, where prices consistently decrease, prompting consumers to postpone spending in anticipation of further price declines. This deflationary mindset has impacted Japanese households' preference for cash and deposits as a safe haven. However, the recent shift towards stocks and investment trusts indicates a behavioral change as households seek higher returns to combat inflation, signifying a substantial departure from their conventional financial practices.

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