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Japanese consumers complained about high mobile phone costs and called for reductions in service fees, at a meeting hosted by the communications ministry on Thursday.

The meeting was organized as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is calling on mobile phone carriers to cut their service fees.

The closed-door session was attended by members of the Association of Consumer Organizations and the Japan Association of Consumer Affairs Specialists, as well as representatives of groups for single mothers, older people and freelance workers.

One of the participants said that videos that are automatically delivered to mobile phones consume a large portion of data capacity, leading to a spike in bills, while another stated that those who fall behind on mobile phone bill payments could see their credibility damaged and face difficulties taking in loans in the future, according to the ministry.

A different participant cited an increase in the share of mobile phone bills in total family spending due to the fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, one participant said, “I don’t want a fee cut to result in a decline in service quality.”

After the meeting, communications minister Ryota Takeda told reporters, “We’ll make efforts to prepare an environment enabling fair competition.”

The country’s three major mobile phone carriers — NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp. — have expressed their readiness to consider cutting their fees.

During talks with leaders of the three companies last week, Takeda asked them to study measures to help reduce households’ financial burdens.

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