To ease the burden of the 2 percentage-point consumption tax hike, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will exempt Tokyoites from a total of 908 million yen in additional tap water charges and 34 million yen in sewage charges from June through December, metropolitan government officials said. The exemption followed a recent resolution adopted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly that called for the easing of tax burdens on Tokyo residents.

The cut in tap water charges, however, consists of only a 0.3 percent reduction of the total 341 billion yen expected to be paid to the metropolitan government in fiscal 1997. Total sewage charges are estimated at 184.2 billion yen, including the higher consumption tax rate.

The consumption tax hike and its relation to water charges have been a political focus of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly because a general assembly election, which takes place once every four years, is scheduled for July.

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