Japan Post set to raise mail prices

JIJI

The internal affairs ministry said it intends to change an ordinance that would allow Japan Post Co. to raise postage rates to cushion itself from the impact of next April’s sales tax hike.

The revision could raise the cost of sending a letter weighing 25 grams or less to ¥82 from ¥80, which would be the first postal rate hike in around 20 years, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry announced Friday.

After soliciting views from the public and having a council examine the issue, the ministry hopes to amend the ordinance as early as November. The move would allow Japan Post to then apply for a rate hike.

If Japan Post passes on the postage hike directly to clients, the rate for mailing letters would likely rise to ¥82 from ¥80 and that for postcards to ¥51 from ¥50. The postal service arm of state-owned Japan Post Holdings Co. said it would take into account the impact of the move on its customers and financial standing.

According to an estimate by the ministry, Japan Post will take an additional ¥38 billion tax hit after the consumption tax rises to 8 percent from 5 percent next spring. The ministry wants to allow Japan Post to raise postage rates to mitigate the impact.