Asia Economy

Finally, Mrs Watanabe loosens her purse strings

Jeremy Woodhouse | Blend Images | Getty Images

Japanese housewives, who typically control the family purse strings, are doling out more pocket money to their working husbands amid rising prices following the April sales tax hike.

The average monthly allowance has risen to 39,572 yen ($390) in 2014, from 38,457 yen in 2013, according to a survey of office workers conducted by Tokyo-based Shinsei Bank.

While this marks the first rise in two years, it's still far from pre-global financial crisis levels. In 2008, Japanese salarymen received an average monthly allowance of 48,825 yen.

Read MoreJapan consumer prices rise at fastest pace since 1982

"As consumer prices increase and spending is driven up further by consumption tax hikes, consumers are having no choice but to increase allowances," the bank said.

The average cost of lunch has risen to 541 yen, up 23 yen from last year, according to Shinsei. Meanwhile, the average amount spent per drinking session has risen by 9 yen to 3,483 yen. Total spending on drinking has risen by 770 yen to 8,459 per month.

The government's consumption tax hike to 8 percent from 5 percent in April has pushed up prices across the board. In May, for example, Japan's consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 3.4 percent, the fastest pace since 1982.

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A second tax hike to 10 percent is scheduled for October next year.

"While we expect average allowances to increase next year, we expect the increase to be led by respondents in their 40's and 50's, the same as this year, as younger respondents experience a larger impact from consumption taxes, feel greater pressure to reduce spending and have less desire to consume compared to older respondents," the bank said.

Is Japan seeing 'good inflation'?

While inflation in Asia's second-largest economy is rising, wages have not kept up.

Average real wages, which take into account consumer inflation, dropped 3.1 percent in April from a year earlier, marking the largest annual fall in over four years.

Read MoreBank of Japan risks QE failure: Economist

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government have been publicly pressuring companies to raise wages, which is seen as a crucial factor to complement massive monetary and fiscal stimulus unleashed to pull the economy out of deflation.

Without higher wages, this could lead to decreased consumer spending and investment and a resulting economic slowdown, warn economists.