Upper House eatery holding to pre-hike prices

Upper House members do not like the consumption tax. This may be why the chamber’s restaurant has kept prices to what they were at before the levy was hiked to 5 percent on April 1.

In contrast, the Lower House restaurant, which charges consumption tax separately from food prices, increased the total price by 2 percentage points exactly after the tax increase. Employees of the Upper House restaurant are complaining that the restaurant has not increased prices even though its food purchase prices have gone up with the tax hike.

At the Upper House restaurant, curry and rice, for instance, costs 560 yen, including the 5 percent consumption tax. The Lower House restaurant charges 600 yen for the same dish. The 30 yen consumption tax is collected separately.

The Upper House secretariat claims that the restaurant business is favorable and that it obtained a restaurant contractor’s consent not to raise prices on condition that the facility would charge the tax separately if the consumption tax is increased again. Diet restaurant prices must be approved by the general affairs subcommittee of the steering committee at each house.

Some Upper House members on the subcommittee reportedly said at a meeting held to approve the restaurant prices that even if the prices remained the same, they would still be too high. Another restaurant for parliamentary personnel in the Diet building charges only 460 yen for curry rice, with 20 yen collected as consumption tax. This is believed to be one of the reasons why the Upper House restaurant did not hike its prices.