Ka-Boom Times For This Japanese Bank
By Kenji Hall
Japan’s once-envied household savings rate dropped to a 10-year low in 2007, to 3.2% of GDP, as salaries stagnated and retirees cracked their nest eggs. Now toymaker Takara Tomy has come up with a coin bank that explodes if it’s not fed. Since the Chokin Bakudan, or Savings Bomb, appeared on store shelves about two months ago, it has been a hit with the gadget-crazed Japanese.
Fail to plunk cash into the bank for a day or two, and a light flashes. Neglect the battery-powered device for five days and it bleeps—before flinging open its latch and disgorging the coins inside. No word so far on exporting the bomb to America, a noisy proposition given the U.S.
savings rate: less than 1% of disposable income.