I Want my Thin TV!

Back to Contents of Issue: April 2004


This month's consumer surverys.


WHAT'S UP, DOC? Your blood pressure, you say? When it comes to medical malpractice suits, Japanese are not known to be as litigious as Americans. Nonetheless a medical mishap ombudsman conducted a survey of those who had initiated legal action against physicians. Only 37.9 percent of the respondents said they desired financial compensation for their loss. But then what, if not money, were their reasons to go after the men in white? For 97.5 percent, the reason (with multiple replies tallied) was simply that they were "angry."

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL. In ancient times, Sanshu no Jingi, or the "three sacred treasures," were a mirror, a sword and a jewel, which together constituted the symbolic vestments of the occupant of Japan's chrysanthemum throne. Then came the 1950s. Suddenly prospective young brides began demanding their own "sacred treasures" as a condition for marriage. These were a washing machine, a refrigerator and a TV set. Well with the diffusion rates for these three items close to 100 percent, the question arises: What does today's Japanese consumer hotly desire? Aera magazine asked Macromill to poll 155 males and 156 females over 20 what they were hoping to buy. The top answer, for 47 percent, was a thin-screen TV.

TALL OAKS FROM SMALLER ACORNS. The Sanno Institute of Management asked about the motive for new company employees to begin putting aside part of their salary in savings. To prepare for my marriage, responded 46.4 percent.

Other plans for those savings included purchase of a future home (38.4 percent) or car (34.7), foreign travel or other leisure activities (34.1), for a rainy day in the event of sickness or injury (29.3), purchase of a personal computer or other high-ticket household item (27.1), to enable a move out of their parents' home and the start of life on their own (21.7) and to sustain themselves in case they are laid off from work (21.5). Of course, clearly a significant number are counting their pocket change in anticipation of that thin-screen TV.

POTPOURRI. THE NUMBER OF Japanese traveling abroad in 2003 plummeted 19.5 percent from the year before, to 13.29 million. On the other hand, the number of foreigners visiting Japan for purposes of tourism or business stood at 5,231,000. This also represented a drop, but only of 0.2 percent -- nowhere near the drops registered by China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

MEANWHILE, THE JAPAN AUTOMOBILE Importers' Association announced the 10 best-selling models during the previous year. First place, with 21,162 units, was the Volkswagen Gol. 3-series (BMW). Next, in descending order, the Fit-ALIA (Honda), 14,624; Polo (VW), 13,825; Mini (BMW), 12,535; E-class (Mercedes-Benz), 12,423; C-class (Mercedes-Benz), 11,859; New Beetle (VW), 9,108; 70-series (Volvo), 8,849; and 206 (Peugeot), 8,657.

WE'RE NOT REALLY SURE we want to know this, but 100 men and 100 women trusted Spa! magazine enough to reply "yes" to some very personal questions, such as received a gift of intimate apparel from a member of the opposite sex (10 males, 21 females), used baby talk with a lover (11 males, 23 females), broke wind while lying in bed beside a sleeping partner (35 males, 32 females), engaged in sex out of doors (14 males, 22 females) and thought of another person during intercourse (16 males, 9 females). @

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