Consumer spending drops in first half of December

New figures suggest that people in Japan are closing their wallets as coronavirus cases rise. Credit card data shows consumer spending dropped sharply in the first half of December.

Research firm Nowcast and credit card company JCB analyzed customer transactions.

They say the consumption index fell 15.2 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

It was the first time since the first half of May that the index was down more than 15 percent. That's when a state of emergency over the pandemic was in place.

Spending on travel was down 44.1 percent. Spending at restaurants was lower by 37.4 percent.

Nowcast says people refrained from going out amid a resurgence in coronavirus infections.

It adds that negative headwinds remain after the government suspended its domestic tourism campaign nationwide late last month.