• Kyodo


Japan will experience a rise in prices on some food, services and tobacco products from October. Partly due to a spike in global raw material prices, the hike deals a further blow to households hit by fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Friday, dairy producers Meiji Co. and Megmilk Snow Brand Co. will increase the prices of their margarine products as international prices have soared due to a surge in global demand and lowered output in major producing areas due to poor weather.

For Meiji, the retail price will increase by up to 12.8% and the Megmilk Snow Brand will pass on a bump of up to 12.2%.

Food and beverage maker Ajinomoto AGF Inc. is increasing the price of its 40 coffee products, estimating they will soar some 20%.

According to Ajinomoto AGF, it expects the inflated market rate to remain for the time being, citing the anticipated recovery in global demand for coffee with economic activities gradually resuming after the pandemic.

Under the government’s repeated state of emergency declarations over the pandemic since spring last year, people have been asked to refrain from nonessential outings while businesses were asked to temporarily shut down or shorten their operating hours.

Japan’s economy has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels — mainly thanks to sluggish consumer spending, which could also be affected by the price hikes.

Following a cigarette tax hike in October, Japan Tobacco Inc. will revise its pricing, with the per-pack price for Seven Stars, one of the company’s signature brands, increasing from ¥560 ($5) to ¥600.

Among other price hikes starting in November, major frozen-food maker Nichirei Foods Inc. will increase prices of consumer products by some 4 to 8%. Prices for commercial sales will rise around 3 to 10% in order to “maintain current product quality and stable supply.”

Residents will also face higher utility bills in November.

The monthly household electricity bill for an average household will be ¥73 to ¥171 higher than in October, while the natural gas bill for an average home is set to climb by ¥91, at most, according to power and gas companies across the nation.

Households in Japan will also see price changes in other products such as bread from next year.

The prices of bread and udon noodles will increase around January, following an announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of a 19% price rise on average for six months from October for wheat imported by the government and sold on to private milling firms.

The farm ministry has cited “China’s brisk buying” and “a large increase in sea freight costs” behind its decision to increase prices.

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