Japan considers steps to help with utility bill burden

Japan to consider steps to cushion blow from rising utility bills – Nikkei By Reuters

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Economy 17 minutes ago (Sep 28, 2022 10:20PM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a news conference during his visit to New York for the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York City, New York, U.S., September 22, 2022. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan’s government is considering steps such as cash payouts to households and firms as well as subsidies for utilities to cushion the blow from rising electricity bills, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Thursday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may announce his resolve to “take unprecedented, bold measures that directly ease the burden on households and firms” from rising utility bills at a speech to parliament on Oct. 3, the newspaper said.

“There’s a risk electricity bills could rise sharply toward the spring of next year,” Kishida is expected to say in the speech, the paper said.

Asked about the Nikkei report, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a briefing the government will consider whether further steps are needed to deal with rising electricity bills.

Ideas floated among government and ruling party officials include cash payouts to households and companies, as well as subsidies to utility firms aimed at curbing electricity bills, the Nikkei said.

The government will work out details on the measures in time to include them in an economic stimulus package due to be compiled next month, the paper said.

Kishida is also likely to announce that Japan will set an inbound tourism spending target of more than 5 trillion yen a year, Jiji news agency reported.

Japan’s core consumer inflation quickened to 2.8% in August, hitting its fastest annual pace in nearly eight years and exceeding the central bank’s 2% target for a fifth straight month as price pressure from raw materials and yen weakness broadened.

Analysts expect a rise in electricity and gas bills to accelerate in coming months, which will further push up consumer prices and may cast doubt on the Bank of Japan’s view that the recent rise in inflation will be temporary.

Japan to consider steps to cushion blow from rising utility bills – Nikkei

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