October brings various price changes for Japan residents
Kyodo -- Sep 30
A range of price changes will take effect in Japan starting Thursday, from alcoholic beverages to minimum wages, as revisions were made to the tax and social welfare systems.

With the revised tax rates, the retail prices of wine, tobacco and low-priced beer-like drinks, made from malt alternatives or a mixture of spirits, could be higher.

The tax for what is known in the country as "third-category beers" will rise 9.8 yen per 350 milliliters and that for wine will be 7.5 yen higher for a regular-sized bottle.

But normal beer of the same quantity will be taxed 7 yen less and Japanese sake, which is typically sold in 1.8 liter-bottles, will be 18 yen cheaper.

Japan Tobacco's 224 product retail prices will be higher by between 10 yen and 100 yen per packet. Philip Morris and British American Tobacco will also introduce price increases of between 20 yen and 50 yen, and 10 yen and 60 yen, respectively.

Among changes in the welfare and health care sectors, people aged 65 or older will be eligible for priority vaccination against influenza, while rotavirus vaccination will basically be free for infants born in and after August.

Of Japan's 47 prefectures, 40 -- not including Hokkaido, Tokyo, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi -- will raise minimum wages by between 1 yen and 3 yen, in steps.

Financial help for low-income households, such as covering their electricity bills, will be reduced.

10月1日から私たちの暮らしにかかわる税金などが変わります。たばこは値上げ、NHK受信料は引き下げられます。酒税も変わります。第3のビールは350ミリリットルあたり9.8円の増税。一方、ビールは350ミリリットルあたり7.0円の減税となります。酒税については、2026年までに段階的に変更されていきます。 酒税をめぐっては、税収を増やしたい政府と“安く売りたい”メーカーのせめぎあいが続いてきました。まずは1994年にビールが増税。次に白羽の矢が立ったのが、ビール増税の影響で売り上げを伸ばしていた発泡酒でした。「開発努力が無駄になる」と大手4社のトップが増税に対し抗議の署名を行うも、値上げされました。その後、第3のビールが開発されますが、またしても2006年、増税となりました。今後、大手4社は、減税となる“ビール”の販売に力を入れていく方針を示しています。
News sources: Kyodo, ANNnewsCH
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