With higher gas taxes set to expire, Kazuo Yaginuma, spokesman for a gasoline station business, has been fielding a lot of phone calls lately from reporters asking what the impact might be.

His firm, Aizu General Group, in Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, announced earlier this week that it will lower pump prices by ¥25 per liter from Tuesday.

"Customers will probably come to our stations on April 1, expecting lower gasoline prices. We just can't say to them, 'We won't do it,' " said Yaginuma, whose company owns 21 stations in Fukushima and Niigata prefectures.