As gasoline prices in Japan hit a fresh record high, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government has decided to extend and expand its subsidy program, which was initially scheduled to end in September, to alleviate the increasing cost for consumers.
Amid the double whammy of the weak yen and uptick in crude oil prices, the average retail gasoline price had reached ¥185.60 ($1.30) per liter as of Monday — the highest figure since comparable data became available in 1990.
With lingering high inflation adding to the burden on households and subduing consumption, economists say maintaining the subsidy is inevitable. But they are also worried about Japan becoming locked into this subsidy for a fossil fuel. Since the policy has negative impacts — including on its decarbonization efforts — the government should look into an exit strategy as well, they added.