Japanese consumers are expected to face more challenges amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as a wave of price hikes will hit essential items such as food and daily goods in the new fiscal year beginning Friday due to the rising cost of raw materials.
Since there will be changes in fiscal 2022 in some social systems closely related to people's day-to-day living, such as the lowering of the amount of public pension benefits, the rising prices are likely to squeeze socially vulnerable people like pensioners particularly hard.
For example, Megmilk Snow Brand Co., Meiji Co. and Morinaga Milk Industry Co. will raise their prices for cheese, while The Nisshin OilliO Group Ltd. and J-Oil Mills Inc. said they will increase their prices of cooking oil for household use.
Other food items subject to the upcoming price hikes include Kagome Co.'s tomato ketchup and Yaokin Co.'s "Umaibo," a popular snack meaning "delicious stick" that has been sold at 10 yen ($0.08) without tax for more than 40 years.
The new price of "Umaibo" is set at 12 yen, according to the snack maker based in Tokyo.
Regarding daily goods, factory prices of Nippon Paper Crecia Co.'s tissue and toilet paper, as well as those of some diaper products of Kao Corp. will go up.
The major transportation system in the country is no exception either.
East Japan Railway Co. will effectively raise ticket prices of shinkansen bullet trains during the high season, and Kyushu Railway Co. will lift the prices of some coupon tickets for the bullet trains.
Japan Airlines Co. will raise ticket prices of some domestic flights from April 15, while those of All Nippon Airways Co. have already gone up since Sunday.
Bridgestone Corp. and the Japanese arm of French tire giant Michelin will raise the prices of their tires.
As for Japan's public pension system, the amount of benefits will decrease by 0.4 percent as wages have gone down due to the influence of the pandemic.
The age bracket to start receiving the benefits will become wider, now raising the upper age limit to 75. Currently, those aged between 60 and 70 can begin receiving a pension.