Always when people talk about high cost of living, Japan is the target. The Brazilian media portrays the prices of Japanese products as something absurd, totally ignoring the country's economy. The fact is that whenever people talk about Japan, it is seen as an expensive country.
Indeed, Japan has a high cost of living for many foreigners who intend to live there. But does that mean the cost of living in Japan is high? The purpose of the article is to make people think well before using Japan as an example of an expensive country, and to help understand a little of the cost of living in the 2 countries.
Do not see this article as a comparison between Brazil and Japan. Both have their ups and downs. I hope this article clarifies all your doubts about the cost of living in Brazil and Japan.
Japan salary x Brazil salary
Before beginning to understand the cost of living, we must know the minimum wage for each country.
Brazil. The Brazilian minimum wage is in the range of 800 real. Fortunately many tend to earn more than a thousand, just as many don't even get a minimum wage. So during this article we are going to take an average income of 1,000 reais to study the cost of living.
Japan. At the Japan the salary used to be between 200.000 yen (6,000 reais) to 350.000 yen (11,000 reais). Just like in Brazil, people can earn less or more than that. So during the article we are going to take an average income of 250.000 yen (8,000 reais) to study the cost of living. (quotation 03/31/2016).
Rent in Japan x Rent in Brazil
Brazil. More than 30 million Brazilians live on rent, another large part spend their whole lives spending their salary paying the mortgage payment. Unfortunately, rent in Brazil is absurd, it's easy to find thousands of houses for rent at prices higher than the minimum wage.
The cheapest rent usually consumes 30% of the salary, and the conditions of cheap houses are bad, small and even unsafe. Living in apartments is something for the rich, condominiums alone can be more expensive than renting cheap houses.
Japan. Most of the Japanese population lives on rent. Depending on the location, you can find wonderful houses or apartments for 50,000 yen (1500 reais). The advantages of apartments and houses in Japan are great, most have ofuro (bathtub), air conditioning, hi-tech bathroom, security, heated water and much more. All of this can consume less than 20% of salary.
Food in Japan x Brazil
Brazil. With the economic crisis, the consumption of meats, industrialized products and even the rich production of food in Brazil is as expensive as that of Japan. In fact, even before the crisis, it was never cheap to buy industrialized or branded products.
Buying boxes of chocolates, soft drinks, visiting restaurants and snacks can consume a lot of salary. Many families cannot visit these places because of the high price, and live eating the cheapest. This is because the country has one of the highest tax burdens, the products are expensive and of low quality.
Japan. Although most natural foods such as meat, vegetables, fruits are imported into Japan, it has a large production and a very affordable price. If a person thinks that meat, vegetables and fruit in Japan are expensive, he must remember that their salary can be up to 10 times higher than ours.
In addition, industrialized things and brands such as chocolates, drinks and sweets can be cheaper than in Brazil, without taking the high salary that the Japanese earn. Visiting restaurants and snack bars like McDonald's is much more affordable for a Japanese person than for a Brazilian. In other words, the Japanese eat better and spend less despite the high cost of the products.
Products and Leisure - Japan x Brazil
Brazil. Everyone knows that the prices of technological products, TVs, cell phones, video games, etc., are absurd. It takes many months to work to buy the dear 42nd TV or a PS4. Some work for years to travel to another country, so much so that most Brazilians think that traveling abroad is something for the rich. Not to mention that traveling within the country, people can have more expenses than traveling abroad. Many leisure places are absurdly expensive, inaccessible to ordinary families. Even taking car trips is difficult with the price of gasoline.
Japan. With just a salary and a little effort you are able to buy all those electronic things that would take you months or years in Brazil. Prices can be lower, and as the salary is much higher, this is all affordable. With 1 month of sacrificed salary, he is already able to buy a plane ticket to another country.
Where is the cost of living better?
Japan is not an economic marvel, nor does it have a low cost of living. Many people in Japan live at the limit of their salary, as do many in Brazil. When analyzing the economy of these 2 countries, it is quite clear that neither country has a higher cost of living than the other, but what each country does transforms the life experience into something better.
The experience of life in Japan can be far superior for most people, just as a large number prefer the freedom that Brazil has. So, the economy is not a key factor in choosing a particular country, but what suits you best. Family or security? Freedom or Comfort? Japan is well above Brazil economically, so the cost of living in Japan for Japanese people is actually lower than the cost of living in Brazil for Brazilians.
But Brazil, a country that produces its own food, and has the capacity to be the greatest power in the world, why does it have a horrible economy and a high cost of living? A country where earning 260 reais is considered a middle class (said Dilma), cannot afford a decent economy. We are not going to enter into political debate, but all of this is the result not only of the government, but of the attitude and culture of the population.
Japan just doesn’t have a bad economy, because people are dedicated to studying, working and respecting others, where the population thinks more about society instead of itself. This is one of the main reasons why a country has a good cost and lifestyle. The results are very visible when people take the opposite side.