An advisory panel to Japan's health minister approved Wednesday an emergency plan to increase in May the government-set dental treatment remuneration for "silver" fillings containing palladium, mainly produced in Russia.

The increase, which will lead to a price hike for dental treatment involving such fillings, comes as palladium prices have skyrocketed since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which is Japan's second-largest supplier of the rare metal.

So-called silver fillings containing palladium and other metals are covered by national health insurance, with dentists' remuneration for such treatment reviewed in January, April, July and October each year due to fluctuating market prices for the materials used.

With the market price for palladium surging over supply concerns, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will add another hike to the amount decided in April.

According to a ministry proposal, the fixed cost of silver filling materials covered by national insurance will rise by around 8 percent from the currently set 3,149 yen ($25) per gram.

In the case of a patient younger than 70 who pays 30 percent of the total dental costs at the counter, the hike is expected to result in an increase of several hundred yen for each silver filling.

According to Finance Ministry trade statistics, 34.5 percent of Japan's palladium imports came from Russia in 2021, second to South Africa at 48.8 percent.

Global demand for the metal had been on the rise even before the Russian invasion.

The government has recently designated palladium as an important commodity that needs to be secured stably from producers other than Russia.

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Japan dental fees to jump as palladium prices surge on Ukraine war