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COLA Living Pattern Survey opens in Japan

The Living Pattern Survey asks Service Members which local stores they shop in and how much (the percentage) they buy from the Commissary and Exchange. For example, the Living Pattern Survey may show that Service Members typically buy half their clothing in local stores (with foreign currency) and half at the exchange (with U.S. dollars). Using information from the Living Pattern Survey, price collectors in many overseas locations conduct a market basket survey (Retail Price Schedule) each year, pricing about 120 goods and services. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Sadie Colbert)

The Living Pattern Survey asks Service Members which local stores they shop in and how much (the percentage) they buy from the Commissary and Exchange. For example, the Living Pattern Survey may show that Service Members typically buy half their clothing in local stores (with foreign currency) and half at the exchange (with U.S. dollars). Using information from the Living Pattern Survey, price collectors in many overseas locations conduct a market basket survey (Retail Price Schedule) each year, pricing about 120 goods and services. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Sadie Colbert)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Beginning May 1, service members throughout Japan have the opportunity to participate in the Overseas Cost of Living Allowance Living Pattern Survey and directly impact future COLA rates.

The LPS will be available online through May 31 for personnel at all areas in Japan.

The survey is designed to capture data on shopping patterns of military service members stationed in Japan. The data collected from the LPS will eventually be used to assist in the determination of Overseas Cost of Living Allowance rates.

“The purpose of COLA is to ensure everyone has the same purchasing power overseas as they would back in the states, said Chief Master Sgt. Terrence A. Greene, United States Forces, Japan command chief. “The quality of life of our service members and their families is important, and COLA provides that buffer to make sure it remains consistent.”

When taking the survey, service members will be asked about where they shop and how much they spend -- on base or off base -- and what percentage of items they buy from the commissary and Exchange.

U.S. Forces Japan leaders are encouraging maximum participation from service members in order to collect full and accurate data that will have a direct influence on COLA rates.

“You’re lucky, you get to influence COLA for the next three years,” added Greene. “The most important thing is to make sure that the moment the survey is live, we need as many people taking it as we can.”

In the situation where the service member may be deployed or does not have access to the internet, the service member’s spouse can take the survey on their behalf.

Survey link available at http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/colaSurvey.cfm?ID=japan.

For additional information on COLA and the LPS Survey, please reference the Defense Travel Management Website,
http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/colaSurvey.cfm.