Always when people usually talk about the 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 want to live there. But does this mean that the cost of living in Japan is high? The purpose of the article is to get people to reflect well before using Japan as an example of an expensive country, and to help understand a little about the cost of living in both 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 cannot 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. In Japan the salary is usually 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 of them spend their entire lives spending their wages paying the installment of their own home. Unfortunately rent in Brazil is absurd, it is easy to find thousands of houses to 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 without security. Living in apartments is something for the wealthy, only the condo can be more expensive than renting cheap houses.
Japan. The majority 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 a hot tub (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 reality, even before the crisis, it was never cheap to buy industrialized or branded products.
Buying boxes of chocolate, sodas, visiting restaurants and snacks can be quite costly. Many families cannot visit these places because of the high price, and live on 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 meats, vegetables, fruits are imported into Japan, it has great production and is very affordable. If a person thinks that meat, vegetables and fruit in Japan is expensive, he must remember that their salary can reach up to 10 times higher than ours.
In addition, industrialized and branded things like chocolates, beverages 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 than for a Brazilian. That is, 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, games, etc. are absurd. It takes many months to work to buy the dear 42º TV or a PS4. Some work for years to travel to another country, so much so that most Brazilians think that traveling abroad is a rich thing. Not to mention that traveling within the country itself, people may have more expenses than traveling abroad. Many places of leisure are absurdly expensive, inaccessible to ordinary families. Even taking car trips is difficult with gas prices.
Japan. With just one salary and a little effort you are able to buy all those electronic things that would take months or years in Brazil. Prices can be lower, and since the salary is much higher, all of this is affordable. With 1 month of salary sacrificed he is able to buy a plane ticket to another country.
Where is the cost of living better?
Japan is not an economic wonder, nor does it have a low cost of living. Many people in Japan live on the edge of their salary, as do many in Brazil. When analyzing the economy of these 2 countries, it is very clear that none of the countries has a higher cost of living than the other, but what each country does turns the experience of life into something better.
The life experience in Japan can be much 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 the Japanese 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.