Japan govt. poll: 'Prices' tops areas heading in undesirable direction

An annual opinion poll by the Japanese government shows nearly 70 percent of respondents cited "prices" as an area of the country that is heading in an undesirable direction.

The Cabinet Office surveyed 3,000 people across Japan aged 18 and older by mail from November to December of last year, and received responses from 1,714 of them, or 57 percent.

Asked whether they are satisfied with the current state of Japanese society, 50 percent of the respondents said they were "satisfied" or "satisfied to some extent." That was down two points from last fiscal year's survey.

Meanwhile, 48 percent said they were "not so satisfied" or "unsatisfied." That was up two points from the previous poll, marking the third consecutive year of increase.

The poll also asked which areas are moving in a desirable direction, allowing those surveyed to select more than one out of multiple choices.

The results show healthcare and welfare were cited most by 26 percent, disaster preparedness by 24 percent, and security by 19 percent. 26 percent said there was nothing in particular.

Asked what areas are moving in an undesirable direction, "prices" was cited by 69 percent, followed by national finances and the economy, which tied at 58 percent.

"Prices" topped the list of responses to the same question for two years in a row.

A Cabinet Office official says the results appear to reflect the current situation where prices have remained high and the number of people feeling financially strained has not decreased.