• Kyodo News

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Philip Morris Japan KK and British American Tobacco Japan Ltd. have asked the Finance Ministry for permission to raise cigarette prices by ¥20 per pack, company officials said Tuesday.

The price hikes will take effect June 1, pending ministry approval, the officials said. Once they go into effect, Philip Morris’ Marlboro brand cigarettes will cost ¥340 per pack and British American’s Kent will go for ¥320.

Philip Morris and British American, the second- and third-largest sellers of tobacco in Japan, want to raise prices for the first time in four years to make up for falling sales in the shrinking Japanese tobacco market, the officials said.

They said their plans had nothing to do with the tobacco tax increase scheduled for October.

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