• Kyodo

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The general affairs committee of the Fukushima Prefectural Assembly approved on Thursday a proposal that would in effect raise the prefecture’s tax on nuclear fuel to 13.5 percent from the current 7 percent.

The full assembly is scheduled to vote on the proposal Friday.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the sole payer of the local tax, opposes the hike. Tepco operates 10 nuclear reactors at its two power plants in the prefecture.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government wants the tax hike to take effect Nov. 10, pending approval by the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry.

The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) and the Federation of Electric Power Companies are against the increase, saying it would lead to higher power bills and undermine Japan’s industrial competitiveness.

The proposal states that the tax on nuclear fuel prices should be lifted to 10 percent from 7 percent. Coupled with this would be the introduction of a fresh charge of 6,000 yen per kilogram, resulting in an increase of some 9 billion yen in tax revenues over the next five years.

The prefecture plans to raise the weight-based charge to 11,000 yen per kilogram in the future.

At present, Fukushima and 11 other prefectures impose a local tax on nuclear fuel.

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