In an effort to curb the rise of gas prices at the pump, which have hit record levels the last few days, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday that his government will extend existing gasoline subsidies scheduled to end next month, aiming to bring the price of gasoline down to around ¥175 a liter in October.

The subsidy program will be extended until the end of the year and will be beefed up starting next week in order to bring the price of gasoline to the level reached in the direct aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kishida added. The program also covers light oil and kerosene, as well as heavy oil.

Asked about concerns over the national budget and financing an extension of measures that were initially conceived as being temporary, Kishida said that it’s important to strike a balance between the need to protect the livelihood of people and budget considerations.