Japanese "Consumers" Scramble To Spend... And Buy Cash Safes In Which To Hide Trillions In Cash

Tyler Durden's picture

Japan's attempt to restimulate the economy through consumer spending (something that has so far failed in the US and everywhere else courtesy of a third consecutive year of global household sector deleveraging) appears to be going horribly wrong. Exhibit A: "Japanese safe maker Eiko Co. says sales jumped more than 40 percent after the March earthquake and tsunami, a sign that consumers will hoard more cash at home and restrain an economic rebound...“The television footage of the tsunami destroying everything in its path must have served as a warning for cash- rich people,” said Tsutomu Ishii, head of sales for the Tokyo- based company. “They have cash at home and they don’t want to leave it without any protection anymore."" If economic recovery is based on spending for cash hoarding devices that the BOJ has done an amazing job. Alas, we are fairly confident not even Keynes has a footnote in any of his theories suggesting that consumers buying up safes, mattresses, socks or other cash storage devices is in any way stimulative of GDP. Alas, the bottom line (and as we have been claiming since the beginning of May) is that the BOJ will have no choice but to step in yet again to take the place of Japan's consumers who are not only disenchanted with stock returns, but now have to worry about natural disasters. "Households aren’t ready to help the economy by spending" said Hiroshi Miyazaki, chief economist at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.

From Bloomberg:

The March 11 disaster that left more than 23,000 people dead or missing may discourage spending as households stick to “tansu yokin,” the centuries-old Japanese practice of keeping mattress money. While output is bouncing back, weak demand may slow an economic recovery as officials struggle to boost consumer spending after decades of deflation.

“It’s absolutely essential for Japan to get people to spend,” said Robert Feldman, head of Japan economic research at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo. “Weakness in consumer spending is one of the reasons for the economy contracting -- it’s crucial for the government and the Bank of Japan to work together properly to end deflation.”

Consumer spending slid 0.6 percent in the three months through March as Japan entered a recession according to the textbook definition, two straight quarters of contraction. The Bank of Japan will conclude a policy meeting today after the International Monetary Fund called for it to boost asset purchases to “guard against deflation risks

Millions in paper money destroyed:

In the devastated northeastern Tohoku region, safes recovered since the data have indicated the scale of tansu yokin. In Ishinomaki, a stricken city, about 700 are stored at a police station, officer Yoshiaki Fukushima said. Officials there have reports of another 750 missing, claimed to contain an average of about one million yen each.

"I was stunned by the amount of cash I was seeing,” said Fukushima, who found as much as 70 million yen ($870,000) in one of the boxes. In another case, he couldn’t get the bills out because they were swollen with water.

At least 500 are at a police station in Kesennuma city, and one contained as much as 40 million yen in cash, said Hiroki Sato, a local police commissioner.

In 2008, the central bank estimated tansu yokin at about 30 trillion yen and Hideo Kumano, chief economist at the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo, said the amount may now be in a range from 20 trillion yen to 45 trillion yen.

This is why every central bank fears the toxic spiral of deflation more than anything:

“The country is in deflation so even if you leave money under the mattress, you are still earning,” said Morgan Stanley’s Feldman. “It’s a relatively attractive asset. You have to protect it but it’s not too hard.”

Average monthly household spending dropped 8.5 percent in the past decade in nominal terms, according to the statistics bureau

There is no chance monetary authorities have a hope in Fukushima of reversing century old habits:

Poor returns on stocks -- the Nikkei 225 is down more than 30 percent in the past five years -- discourage investing, while low interest rates limit the lure of bank saving accounts. At the Bank of Japan, Governor Masaaki Shirakawa’s policy board has kept the benchmark between zero and 0.1 percent since October.

And here is the kicker- Japanese households have $10 trillion in cash and deposits!

Japanese households had 55 percent of their 1,489 trillion yen of
financial assets in cash or deposits at the end of last year, about four
times the proportion in the U.S., according to the Bank of Japan.

Luckily, the safe scramble trend has not yet gone global, at least according to a cursory Google Trends search of "cash safe"

On the other hand, in non-Japanese countries, for many it is the true currencies of gold and silver that have already replaced the allure of paper cash. Nonetheless, if the chart above begins demonstrating a material pick up, then the world's central banks may just as well close up shop.

As for Japan - good luck.

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stant's picture

mason jar federal is popular here too

trav7777's picture

yen POG seems to suggest these people ain't that bright

carbonmutant's picture

What the half life of radioactive currency?

UGrev's picture

doesn't matter. It's being spent too fast to get any long term exposure from.

jeff montanye's picture

that's certainly not the thrust of the story above.

dwdollar's picture

Hoard that money of arbitrary quantity!  Yeah!!!

Cdad's picture

And as Fukushima may or may not go critical yet again utterly destroying the parts of the country's economy that are not already destroyed, the grim picture is further enhanced by this story of terrified Japanese people hoarding cash, likely out of fear that they know their government is lying to them...and they are f'd...

...but any minute now Doug Kass is going to reconsider his call about Japan being a "generational buying opportunity."  Holding my breath...

And also, scientists are, any minute now, going to confirm that there are, indeed, not only unicorns...but flying unicorns...and the government is harvesting unicorndew as the new clean energy source of our future.

goldfish1's picture

hoarding cash or pm's?

MarketTruth's picture


Only a FOOL would keep US dollars. As an example, the Federal Reserve ADMITS to wanting to devalue by 2% annually (2% inflation). As such, this means you lose over 21% in 10 years and you lose over 44% in US dollar value in only 20 years.

In just over 20 years the US DOLLAR PRODUCT LOSES FIFTY PERCENT of its buying power due to the Federal Reserve's desire to devalue by 2% annually.

Cdad's picture

Ummm....try reading the fucking article, you geniuses.

Hacked Economy's picture

Go to www.inflationdata.com, and you'll see that the actual (well, government-posted, anyway) inflation rate has averaged 3.5% over the past 40 years, not just 2%.  That gives a compounded currency devaluation of 75%!

Hacked Economy's picture

80% PMs, 20% FRN cash.  Need to have some cash on hand in case of a sudden bank run, ATM shutdown, bank holiday, or such.  Back in 1994 immediately following the Northridge Earthquake here in SoCal, nearly everything was shut down for three or four days.  Cash was king for any stores that chose (or were able to be) open for the first couple of days.

But if the S truly does HTF one day, then I can always use the cash as addtional toilet paper.

cougar_w's picture

Sounds like Bank of Mattress didn't hold up so well in the deluge.

I'm not sure a safe is much better if kept in the house. But an ammo box lightly buried in the backyard with a small pile of bricks on it might have some advantages.


buzzsaw99's picture

Gold coins stored in a length of pvc (capped and hidden) can't be beat.

buzzsaw99's picture

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

TheTmfreak's picture

I read a interesting article on survival blog about this. It was a guy's personal experience with doing this out in a public forest.

Turns out after the first good rain all of his pvc pipes came bursting out of the ground. Hopefully you've prepared for this.

knukles's picture

Now that's one worthwhile survival blog, discussing burrying Krugerrands in PVC piping somewhere far, far away from the madding crowd in a fucking public forest.
Like Central Park.
Or say, the Kalahari Game Preserve.

Holy shit!
No wonder there's an paplpable level of anxiety out there.

So, no.  I'm not prepared to worry or even consider that one.

chindit13's picture

Turns out after the first good rain all of his pvc pipes came bursting out of the ground

Some people swear by metal detectors.  I use Leprechauns.

Green Leader's picture

Leprechauns = elementales.

I am told they will tell you where metals are for a small offering of candy and other sweet goodies.

Gunther's picture

make sure that they are not easily detectable by high-performance metal detectors.

I have no idea if their claims are correct, but to hide my stuff i would assume that the performance of such a detector is real.


Hacked Economy's picture

That's why you use a good Schedule 80 PVC pipe and bury it so the top is at least 18 inches deep.  Then you put a big rock over it and plant some native bushes.  The rock will discourage metal-detecting from overhead, and the smaller roots from the bushes won't bother the PVC like a tree's roots might.

I read an article in which the author did exactly this, and buried a properly prepared gun with ammo.  He recently dug it back up after 15 years, with absolutely no effects to the pipe or its contents.

Hi Ho Silver's picture

18"?  If you're not deeper than 40' one of my detectors will find it. Surface rocks don't stop me, but shotguns do.

Hacked Economy's picture

Don't worry...I'm covered with 'ol Winchester.  Just please come all the way through my window so the po-po will file it away as a legit-defense case.

Widowmaker's picture

It is real.  Makes finding guns and gold no laughing matter...  Mass densitometry technology is very acute and wide ranging (seeing through an entire home).

Basic hand wands can alert on safes concealed in walls, coin collections, etc. for robbers turning a house. Buried, not so much.

jeff montanye's picture

but can the hiding place be beaten out of you.  even if not it's an unpleasant experience.  i appreciate all who hold the precious wherever but between the former and the 1933 precedent, i'm going with the miners, of however little use beyond the thunderdome.

dark pools of soros's picture

they have a few bits of a lead but still seems like they are avoiding reality...  does anyone really think Japan was enriching plutonium for Iran?


Popo's picture

Uh... dude there's massive structural damage to infrastructure, and Fujita released dozens of photos already.

Furthermore you assert that a nuke at the bottom of the Japan trench would (of course, duh!) create a tsunami.  As if that's an easy task with an utterly predictable outcome.

Thirdly,  Japan wasn't offering to enrich uranium for Iran anywhere near weapons grade.   Come on.   The most NNP-active nation in the world was certainly not about to risk proliferation.   If you were paying attention, you'd know that we WANT external enrichment for Iran.  (And so does Israel).  What we don't want is internal enrichment capability in Iran.

Fourthly,  your images which supposedly "prove" no earthquake damage are idiotic.   They show nothing.   Thousands of photos already exist, but yours are tiny thumbnails from security cams which you claim to provide adequate proof?  They show nothing at all.

Serious tinfoil.



Conrad Murray's picture

1. None of it is mine, so drop the you and your nonsense.

2. I don't know what you're saying with respect to the nuke in the trench.

3. If YOU were paying attention, you would have seen that is exactly what the links state: Japan was enriching for Iran with US approval. Christ you're an imbecile.

4. I'm open to this. Link up some post-earthquake, pre-tsunami damage photos. Throw in a few of past earthquakes too, so we can see how much more severe this 9.0 was.

NotApplicable's picture

While I don't doubt something like this isn't possible (except for the idea that seismic data can be globally suppressed), some of his facts are easily refutable.

First, he states as a matter-of-fact (without any supporting data), that no earthquakes of significant size happen in the Japan trench. Now, I've been watching (http://quakes.globalincidentmap.com/) and have seen hundreds of quakes in the trench since then, many over 6.0. Of course, he used the word significant, so it's a fluid definition. As for the quake damage photos vs. tsunami damage, well, that's another subjective claim based upon proving a negative. I looked myself, and while most photos are of the tsunami (which is not surprising, given its size), within the first page of GIS results, I found an elevated highway in Sendai that fell over on its side that has no tsunami damage. So, pictures do exist.

The most glaring misrepresentation though, is the "missing reactor 3."


Here the author clearly mislabels a photo to demonstrate that the reactor is "gone." The arrow that points to the "top of the concrete" in the drawing is not point to the "same point" as indicated in the photo. Instead the arrow in the photo is pointing to the top of the roofline of the building, not the floor above the reactor. This is easily verified by looking at other photos which show this point to be at the same height as the other buildings (especially #2 which is still intact directly next to #3). So, no, the reactor isn't missing, it's just two levels lower than indicated by the incorrect captioning.

Oh, and the biggest clue that this is BS? The author brings Benjamin Fulford into the mix, who is nothing but a one-man psyop with ties to David Rockefeller.

Now, that said, the plant might still have been sabotaged. If it was though, there is no way it was for the Japan/Iran/Israel story. That would just be the cover for the real goal of depopulation. The idea that there is real conflict between nation states though is every bit as credible as the storylines of professional wrestling.

See, the abstractions known as nations are wholly owned by the banksters already, so there is nothing to gain by setting one against the other, except for the perception it creates in the minds of people.


NotApplicable's picture

So, I just went over to Fulford's site. Oh boy, he's got a paywall now!

If anyone needs any more evidence to discredit him, go to the registration page, and take a look around. Have you ever seen a paywall that fails to list the price you are going to pay once you click submit? LOL

I take it then that no one has bothered signing up for his exclusive service. Or at least not anyone that cares about price?

chindit13's picture

Right or wrong, the quality and credibility of a site is known by the company it keeps.  ZH, which produces some of the most important financial reporting of any media organization, is discredited and more easily dismissable when the batshit crazies take over the dialogue.

Investigator:  Mr. Blankfein, it was reported on Zerohedge that your firm..

Blankfein:  Sir, do you mean the site where people think the Japan quake and tsunami was a terrorist attack?

(laughter ensues)

If you cannot get a handle on your paranoia or abject idiocy, at least try to refrain from posting your drivel so as not to hurt the reputation of Zerohedge.  This battle is tough enough without losing warriors to "friendly fire".

Conrad Murray's picture

An excellent summation of the counterpoints against the article linked. You have undoubtedly upped the ZH street cred by over 9000 internets with your refutation of the presented arguments. Without you, chindit(the little British bitches that couldn't even throw off the japs in Burma), this whole website might have been thrown into disarray. Thank god you came along and so poignantly laid rest to all the concerns raised.

StychoKiller's picture

Sorry, but there's no law (yet!) proscribing where tin-foil beanie wearers can post, let alone wearers of pith helmets!  Besides, ZeroHedge isn't the organization with all the conspiracy theories, the posters are.

dark pools of soros's picture

I don't understand what the problem is..  Japan's gov just has to tax them more and then spend the money anyway they want ...  and if they can't get into those safes then just print more money and spend that anyway they want.. 


we do not have any of those caveman problems in America - you money will be spent or dilluted


HarryWanqer's picture

Great idea!  Taxes only payable in cash!

Saxxon's picture

In any race or nation - and they occur almost in the same stripes in all 'civilized' nations - aren't economic mandarins like this wonderful.

They look at people as mere feeding sacs with apertures at each end.  Our politicians, too.

Canticle For Liebowitz is highly recommended; only in our scenario, rather than technology getting scattered to the four winds, it will be this very economic attitude.

falak pema's picture

japan investor cum consumer holds the key to his country's future..if he goes consumer crazy and moves out of Japanese banks...it will collapse the nippon banking system.

TheTmfreak's picture

This is a very interesting article. A lot to digest and think about, (even though there isn't much to it.)


Can we then say that creating a "protect your money at home" business might be a worthwhile venture in the US and elsewhere?

cougar_w's picture

Sure, sounds great.

Can I have your customer list? Thx.

dark pools of soros's picture

does 'venture' translate to 'scam' only in America?

TheTmfreak's picture

Who said anything about fraudulent schemes?

Thats like saying selling people food who are hungry is a scam. They want safes to store their money (rather than at banks). Can you blame them?

dark pools of soros's picture

depends on the food.... Diet Coke?  


and what better scam to sell people safes in America as a tomb for their rotting cash

TheTmfreak's picture

I mean perhaps people will wake up here and start to take a little more responsibility towards protecting their assets rather than having pure faith that somebody else is.

Idiot Savant's picture

Can we then say that creating a "protect your money at home" business might be a worthwhile venture in the US and elsewhere?

Negative - multiple surveys suggest that less than 40% of Americans have even six months living expenses in savings. A recent poll suggests that roughly 50% of Americans couldn't come up with two grand in a pinch.

Those that have assets are doing their best to diversify due to ZIRP, BB's relentless printing, and a dysfunctional market. The wealthy already have safes anyway.

Comparing asians (net savers) to iGottabuy Americans is apples to oranges.