The Good Life

A decade ago, Japanese workers yearned for what was then considered the three essentials of modern life: a car, a color television set and an air conditioner. Today those products are commonplace. The number of families with cars has grown from 17% in 1970 to 62%; those with color TVs from 26% to 98.9%; those with air conditioners from 5.9% to 40%. Signs of a national shopping spree are everywhere. A new government survey of 65,000 families found that the most popular consumer purchases include video tape recorders ($700) and pianos ($3,000).

Single women living with their parents are among the most...

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