Purpose This study explores the response of consumer confidence in policy uncertainty in the Japanese context. The study also considers the dynamism of stock market behavior and financial stress and its impact on consumer confidence, which has remained unaddressed in the literature. The role of these control variables has important implications for policy discussions, particularly when other countries can learn from Japanese experiences. Design/methodology/approach The nonlinear autoregressive distributed lag model postulated by Shin et al. (2014) was used for studying the asymmetric response of consumer confidence to policy uncertainty. This method has improved estimates compared to traditional linear cointegration methods. Findings The findings confirm the asymmetric impact of policy uncertainty on the consumer confidence index in Japan. The impact of the rise in policy uncertainty is greater than that of a fall in asymmetry on consumer confidence in Japan. Furthermore, the Wald test confirmed asymmetric behavior. Originality/value The contribution of this study is threefold. First, this study contributes to the extant literature by analyzing the asymmetric response of consumer confidence to policy uncertainty, controlling for both the financial stress and stock price indices. Second, to test the robustness of the exercise, the study utilized different frequencies of observations. Third, this study is the first to utilize the concept of Arbatli et al. (2017) to formulate a combined index of uncertainty based on economic policy uncertainty index, along with uncertainty indices such as fiscal, monetary, trade and exchange rate policies to study the overall impact of policy uncertainty.