We Hate Hawking!

Back to Contents of Issue: June 2004

This month's consumer surveys.

GENTEEL POVERTY. Spa! questioned 100 salarymen in their 20s and 30s about which situations conjure up the image of poverty. First on the list, according to 86 percent, was having one's electric power, gas or water cut off due to nonpayment. This was followed by having to go to a loan shark (65 percent), living in a dwelling with no bath or shower (57), having mobile phone service disconnected (49), picking up discarded newspapers or magazines for reading matter (43), not having a TV (36) and wearing wrinkled or soiled garments (26).

FOOD ANXIETIES. In a survey of 14,018 registered MyVoice members, only 4 percent of males and 1 percent of females said they do not feel anxieties over food safety. What aspects of comestibles has them most worried? BSE topped the list with 80 percent, but avian flu was just two percentage points lower. Other concerns stated by the subjects included residual pesticides (61 percent), additives (61), pollution of food by toxic waste (53), genetically engineered foods (52), bacteria-contaminated foods (33) and foods containing allergens (31). Trust in the veracity of food labels has, however, improved slightly. Compared with only 2 percent who said they believe what's on the labels in July 2002, the figure had risen to a whopping 3 percent by February 2004.

JAPAN ISN'T LIKE SINGAPORE. But Ibridge, an Osaka-based IT company, asked: If Japan were to start issuing laws to discourage the things that annoy you the most, what would they be? First was smoking while strolling along the street, cited by 15.3 percent of those questioned. This was followed by people who chat on their mobile phones on the trains, with 14.7 percent. Other activities included hawking phlegm on the street (10.3), sitting in front of a shop or on the floor of the train (8.3), riding a bicycle against the flow of traffic (6.3), littering (5.0) and applying cosmetics on the train (5).

SONY SLIPS. In the results of a Nikkei Business survey, Sony, which had occupied the top place among major companies where graduating college seniors hope to find work for the past six years running, fell to 5th. New at the top was JTB (Japan Travel Bureau), up from 3rd place in 2003, followed by All Nippon Airways (11th) and Toyota Motor Corp. (2nd in 2003). Here are the other top firms in descending order, with last year's ranking in parentheses. 4th: JAL Group (10th); 5th: Sony (1st); 6th: Dentsu (5th); 7th: Suntory (unchanged); 8th: Shiseido (unchanged); 9th: Fuji Television (6th) and 10th: Oriental Land Corp. (22nd). Don't recognize that last name? Look again -- it's the company that operates the Tokyo Disney Resort. Foreign-affiliated companies included IBM Japan (71st), P&G Far East Inc. (75th) and American Family Life Insurance (87th).     @

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