To ease the burden on delivery firms by reducing unnecessary redeliveries, the environment and transport ministries plan to expand their budgets substantially to encourage the installation of parcel lockers in suburbs and rural areas, informed sources said.
For fiscal 2018 starting next April, the ministries will more than double related budget requests from the previous year, the sources said Saturday.
Parcel delivery firms Japan Post Co. and Yamato Transport Co. as well as e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. have been setting up lockers to prevent delivery drivers from working excessively long hours caused chiefly by redelivery requests.
But private-sector efforts to install the lockers, mainly at convenience stores and stations, are concentrated around metropolitan areas, such as Tokyo and Osaka, which have many single-member households and double-income families.
This fiscal year, the two ministries launched a subsidy program with a ¥500 million budget to shoulder half the cost of setting up lockers that can be used by multiple delivery firms.
But the ministries later found that more subsidies will be necessary to promote locker installations in suburban and rural areas. They intend to implement the expanded program by fiscal 2019, the sources said.