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Was non-housing related debt a problem in Japan a problem before the house price crash there?

Afraid I can't offer statistics off hand on non secured debt (sold all my Japan books when I left in 03) but it was and still is a cash economy. So if you are talking credit cards etc gut instinct I would say 'no'.

I can offer personal experience on credit cards:

Well, lets just say credit cards weren't / aren't a big deal in Japan - I had one (after many years of begging) and they function strictly as charge cards. When you buy an item you can choose to pay for it in one wedge - (and the shop assistant asks you: "ikkatsubarai?")or spread it over a number of months you answer "XXgatsubarai" (over xx payments). Essentially you choose the credit term (with daft interest rate to boot) when you make the purchase. Always do an ikkatsubarai and never pay a penny in interest - or pay for your sofa over 2 years, you make the choice.

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Was non-housing related debt a problem in Japan prior to the house price crash there?

Actually interestingly the non-secured thing is more a phenomenon of post bubble Japan - where the economy has gone t*ts up the loan companies (non-banks) have taken up the pominnent positions in the high streets).

Companies like "Aifuru" and numerous other other (probably Yakuza backed/enforced) 29.9% loan shops (with a friendly Karen Voordeman face on TV) have "mujin" ATM's where you can take on loans with a "name" guaruntorfor insane Type-R cars. Lots of these loan cos are in foreign Japan funds which people should be well aware of... eg JP Morgan has 3% in "Takefuji" ...notorious corrupt scum of the earth in Japan... (though I own this fund)

Edited by Leeds-Bozz

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