Inflation hits home for families with kids

Japanese families with children are finding it particularly hard to absorb the impact of inflation on consumer prices, which jumped in December by their highest level in about four decades.

One working couple raising a 5-year-old daughter near Tokyo say the situation may force them to make sacrifices that will affect their child.

The couple say their electricity bill in December was 50 percent higher than last year's, and their gas bill was up by 20 percent.

Their annual food and gasoline expenses have shot up by around 20,000 yen each, or around 160 dollars. The couple want to pay for their daughter to have outside-school tuition, but are no longer sure they can afford it.

The labor ministry says that when adjusted for inflation, real wages in November fell 3.8 percent from a year earlier. It's the 8th month in a row that they have declined.

The mother said that "prices are clearly going up, so if earnings do not go up too, we are going to be really squeezed."

The couple are trying to cut down on daily spending by buying meat and other groceries in bulk. They are also trying to keep a better account of their money flow.