Taiwan's standard of living better than Japan's

Taiwan's income per head will overtake that of Japan in 2010, according to IMF figures cited by a report in the London-based newspaper The Economist.

Calculated in purchasing-power parities (PPP), to take into account Japan's higher cost of living, Taiwan's income per head will be over US$34,700 (S$45,071) in 2010, higher than the projected figure of US$33,800 (S$43,902) for Japan.

The calculation PPP is based on a global survey of prices conducted by the World Bank in 2005, The Economist explained.

Taiwan is not the first to overtake Japan in PPP. Singapore and Hong Kong overtook Japan in the early 1990s, the newspaper said.

In terms of market rates, Japan's income per head of US$42,300 is still far above Taiwan's US$18,300, the newspaper explained.

The newspaper contributes Taiwan's overtaking of Japan in living standards to its lower cost of living. It pointed out that "Taiwan's housing was a third cheaper than Japan's, even though Taiwan has almost double the population density" and "Taiwan's food also costs only half as much as Japan's."

However, the publication also added such comparisons "can be contested."

It seemingly implied a doubt over Taiwan's quality of living by adding that "Tokyo's chic districts are richer than their Taipei counterparts" while commenting that "Taiwanese food may seem cheap next to Japan's sashimi and fugu. But then again, how much would you pay for stinky tofu?"

(Source: 18 Nov 2010)

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