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LEAD: Japan's household spending down 2.1% in March.

TOKYO, April 28 Kyodo


Japan's average monthly household spending in March came to 313,350 yen, falling a real 2.1 percent from a year earlier and marking the third straight monthly decline, the government said Friday.

''Although the figure shows a decline, the overall trend is not worsening,'' an official of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said, attributing the fall to fewer consecutive holidays in the reporting month, which cut spending on entertainment.

According to the preliminary report, spending on transportation and communication fell 16.3 percent to 38,829 yen for the fifth straight month of decline, while spending on healthcare dropped 8.6 percent to 12,270 yen, the first drop in 14 months.

But outlays for food inched up 0.7 percent to 67,636 yen, rising for the first time in three months, and spending on housing climbed 17.9 percent to 18,358 yen, marking the third consecutive monthly increase.

Meanwhile, the average monthly income of salaried households came to 429,948 yen, down 4.9 percent for the fifth straight monthly decline, it said.

Starting with February's figures, the ministry changed the way of announcing household spending data, covering all households in the month-end report. Previously, it only covered salaried workers' households as preliminary data and then announced figures for all households.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:May 1, 2006
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