TOKYO: Over 77 percent of people in Japan felt anxious or worried last autumn, up sharply from the pre-pandemic level, a Cabinet Office survey showed Friday.
People who answered they somehow felt anxious or worried accounted for 77.6 percent of the total respondents, hitting the highest level since the survey began in fiscal 1981 and shooting up from 63.2 percent in the previous survey in fiscal 2019, the government agency said.
What made them worried most was their own health, cited by 60.8 percent of the total, followed by post-retirement life plan, picked by 58.5 percent, and income and asset outlook, chosen by 55.0 percent, the latest survey found.
On the other hand, those who satisfactory spent leisure time made up only 34.3 percent, down 28.4 percentage points from the previous survey.
The sharp decline “can be attributed to COVID-19 restrictions and an economic slowdown” caused by the virus crisis, an official in charge of the public opinion poll said.
Among other findings were that 67.4 percent wanted the government to put policy priority on social security and 65.8 percent on coronavirus response, while economic measures and addressing the country’s aging population, highly favored policy focus areas in previous surveys, were selected by 55.5 percent and 51.2 percent, respectively.
The latest survey was conducted by email for the first time ever from Sept. 16 to Oct. 24 with 3,000 Japanese nationals aged 18 or older nationwide. Valid responses were given by 63.2 percent of them.
The government agency could not conduct the annual survey in fiscal 2020 as the coronavirus went on a rampage in the country.