According to The Nikkei Asian Review, business remains brisk for Japan's manufacturers, such as semiconductor and machinery makers, whose earnings derive mostly from overseas operations, but domestic demand-oriented companies, such as those in the service and retail sectors, have seen diverging results in the first six months of the current fiscal year.
In the domestic-demand sectors, consumption driven by pursuit of experiences, such as spending at theme parks and cinemas, has proven particularly strong, bumping up profits at related companies. Meanwhile, foreign visitors have shown a resilient level of spending on goods, which has also driven demand.
By contrast, some companies suffered from labor shortages and consumers' reluctance to spend. Some retailers, including supermarket operators, and transportation companies appear set to see their profits fall.
The brisk experience-oriented consumption has driven sales at Oriental Land, the operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort theme park complex. Its revenue is getting a boost from the popularity of its seasonal events, such as a show that recreates the fantasy world of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchise at Tokyo DisneySea, a part of TDR.
"I find myself visiting here to see the shows again and again because I like how they make me feel like I'm a member of the pirates," said a man in his 30s who visited Tokyo DisneySea, a theme park in Urayasu, east of Tokyo, in August.
Oriental Land's net profit for the first six months of the current fiscal year from April grew 11% from a year ago to 42.4 billion yen ($US 373.4 million), defying the company's prior expectations of a drop.
Experience-oriented consumption also buoyed earnings at Shochiku, which engages in theater production and film studio management. The company has seen brisk sales of its own films. Cinemas operated by its subsidiary are also enjoying increased attendance thanks to a number of films distributed by other studios that have proven blockbusters. In kabuki theater production, titles featuring star actor Ebizo Ichikawa have been especially popular. The company booked 2.6 billion yen in net profit, up 13% from a year ago, for the April-September period.
Dalton Capital (Japan) senior fund manager Fumio Matsumoto said Japan's job situation is "not bad" and that hourly pay is on the rise.
"Individuals are strongly motivated to spend. They don't hesitate to pay for things they want," Matsumoto said.
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