Bloomberg Businessweek

Japan and the Paradox of Thrift

Consumers living on fixed incomes have become intolerant of price hikes

When the maker of a popular Japanese popsicle decided to raise prices for the first time in 25 years, executives of Akagi Nyugyo Co.—which introduced the treat in 1981—felt a need to apologize to their customers. On the day of the hike, in April 2016, they ran a 60-second commercial showing the company’s gray-haired chairman, backed by a phalanx of dark-suited workers, all bowing in deep contrition. Three years later, the Akagi Nyugyo manager who came up with the idea for the

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