Photo: Reuters
business

Beer, butter, postcard prices go up

46 Comments

Price hikes for a number of items went into effect in Japan on Thursday, among them beer, butter and postcards.

A revision to the Liquor Tax Law regarding regulations that enabled excessive sales of alcoholic beverages at a discounted price will be enforced at supermarkets and major retailers. The new law will require mass merchandisers to raise the price of beer and happoshu (low-malt beer-like beverages) by about 10%.

Due to the rising price of raw materials, Meiji Holdings and Morinaga Milk Industry said they will subsequently increase the cost of household butter by 5 yen for shipments. Other butter manufactures are expected to raise their prices, too.

Japan Post Co will raise the price of standard postcards from 52 yen to 62 yen.

Furthermore, due to the increased cost of importing liquefied natural gas (LNG), 10 major electricity companies and four major gas utilities will raise rates from 20 yen to 65 yen. These increases are based on Japan’s fuel cost adjustment system that causes electricity and gas rates to fluctuate on a monthly basis.

Additionally, further financial burdens on households are forecast as major banks plan to increase the interest rates on mortgages.

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46 Comments
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Abenomics!

9 ( +12 / -3 )

i see no rationale for raising the tax on beer only at supermarkets. it's ridiculous. the sale of beer is already on the decline, and this will depress it even more. what exactly is the government trying to achieve? it boggles the mind.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Costs up because grumpy old men are advised by other grumpy old men, JA can't supply butter all year because they are so good at their jobs, thus a price hike to mitigate the mess of management that would be laughable were it not a staple.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Great, b/c the 594 yen I pay for a bottle of Minoh W-IPA wasn't nearly enough.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Beer is the only thing that makes life in Japan bearable.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

This is the inflation Abe wants. Perhaps Abe can explain how it will benefit the economy to help those of us who fail to have his command of economics.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

i see no rationale for raising the tax on beer only at supermarkets. it's ridiculous.

They are not rising tax, they are changing regulations on how bargain sales can be carried out the amount prices can be lowered.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Just reading this makes me want a good stiff DRINK!

Most of this when you read it you cant make heads or tails of what they hell they are even taking about! Can anyone explain this:

Furthermore, due to the increased cost of importing liquefied natural gas (LNG), 10 major electricity companies and four major gas utilities will raise rates from 20 yen to 65 yen. These increases are based on Japan’s fuel cost adjustment system that causes electricity and gas rates to fluctuate on a monthly basis.

My head is spinning!

But this is EASY to understand:

Japan Post Co will raise the price of standard postcards from 52 yen to 62 yen.

A whopping 19% increase!!

Is any of this stuff even remotely related to market forces, competition......a wait, silly me, my bad!!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Time to storm the castle... gas is now 3 times more expensive!?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Stupid, stupid, stupid... save for the postal hike, which I can understand (except that they make an exception with Nengajyou -- if it were ABSOLUTELY necessary, there would be no exceptions.

The butter thing... year in and year out, how many times do we need to hear about "emergency storage release" of butter because they government of Japan is too STUPID to lower tariffs so that it can product the old codgers in Hokkaido who are too lazy to keep up with the times? Butter is FAR more expensive than it needs to be, and bakeries, patisseries, and others hurt as a result, then prices for those things go up.

Now watch the government be all baffled next week that consumer spending does not increase.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

This news saddens me.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Beer and butter were already overpriced in Japan, I don't understand why? I cannot live on rice and soy sauce alone.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Flour and more is also going up, annual summer price increase, happens a few times every year.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Interesting, beer, happosshu, and the disgusting dai-san liqueur, imaginary beer-like swill, are all being taxed at 55 yen for a 350 ml can.

Meaning that the "real" beer tax (cost) was actually going to drop to be near equal to the other two, and the dai-san swill would be raised to the point where no one with even a 1/10th of a brain would buy it.

So, the tax goes down, but regulators got worried that it would cut into the profits of swill makers (same folks that make the real beer) and jack the price by 10%, meaning that in reality there should be a small decrease in actual price of "real" beer.

Previously the tax for "real" beer was something like 75 or 80 yen per can, so that drops by roughly 20 yen, and then will rise for the adjusted new 10% increase. Maybe no change at all...I am ever hopeful.

The article is missing a hell of a lot of information about the beer!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Wasn't the beer price hike related to reducing the price of nihonshu sake and wine?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That was the plan over 20yrs to eqal priices as beer sales dropped as people prefetef the cheaper happoshu.

Question from TV wide show which costs more Wine or Nihonshu/Sake?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No mention of cheese. That's because, aside from the processed variety, it doesn't exist in Japan.

How sad.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

So is Abe finally getting some of the inflation he promised?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japanese don't consider the ingredients as essentials only the finished product like soy-sauce or bread, hence ingredients like dice, flour, butter,etc are raised.

Most japanese consider soy-sauce etc an essential.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So drink wine. The cost of a very drinkable Chardonnay here is much less than in the States at about 800 yen. I even saw yesterday it is one of the two white wines on the Hard Rock Ueno menu.

DB, an Australian Semillion/Chardonnay.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

That's because, aside from the processed variety, it doesn't exist in Japan.

Couldnt agree more. I miss my Tillamook medium cheddar at $7 for a pound.

Calling processed goop cheese is an insult to cheese!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

And Japanese banks plan to increase mortgage rates. No doubt this is because of negative interest rates on deposits.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I returned to my country in the year 2002, during the Japan World Cup.

I think sales tax was like 3% and things were totally different.

Japan has changed a lot and it has got more expensive in the last several years.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You would have to give away happoshu for me to drink that swill.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In Australia a bottle of Jack Daniels is about 3800 yen vs 1800 yen here. Therefore if revenue raising is for the purposes of schools, roads, hospitals or other public services, then I have no issue with it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I wonder where that picture is from. I've been searching for single cans of Dry Black for ages.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Additionally, further financial burdens on households are forecast as major banks plan to increase the interest rates on mortgages.

This could actually be disastrous for the economy. Just like in the US, during the subprime mortgage years from 2000 - 2007, I suspect lots of Japanese home buyers in recent years have been enticed into buying more property than they could otherwise afford by agreeing to often heavily promoted, very low interest flexible rate mortgages.

These people may be in for the shock of a lifetime as their monthly mortgage payment increases dramatically.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

my first thought about postcards was, who sends a frickin' postcard anymore anyway? Then I thought about how many tourists will be sendinf Japan postcards back home from the Olympics. What wonderful timing!

Hey and the consumption tax is about to go up again too! Yippee!!!!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They are not rising tax, they are changing regulations on how bargain sales can be carried out the amount prices can be lowered.

yes they are tired of seeing discount shops like ドン・キホーテ sell more than stores that gouge consumers with unnaturally high prices and margins...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

my first thought about postcards was, who sends a frickin' postcard anymore anyway?

Pretty much every person in the entire country, at the end of the year.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

No more loss leaders for Japanese retailers... I'm a little sad but the prices for spirits are still a fraction of the cost back home so it won't affect me too much.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Pretty much every person in the entire country, at the end of the year.

.Maybe 20 years ago.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I thought they were fazing out the tax differences between the different classes of beer? Or does that mean also happoshu (eww, ick) will face the same rate now?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe 20 years ago.

I was ready to challenge you on that until I fact checked it, turns out you're probably right. It's only just over 50%, with each person on average sending 40 of them (2015) http://www.garbagenews.net/archives/2113904.html

That doesn't account for companies though.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Too bad about the beer, but the cost of butter being high is a good thing as it might reduce usage. Japan is already unfortunately pursuing a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) and receiving detrimental health effects

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Strangerland: "Pretty much every person in the entire country, at the end of the year."

Not only is he correct about the difference in people sending twenty years ago and now, if your only counter is the fact that "everyone" sends them at the end of the year, keep in mind it is only those cards that the price is not being raised on. Nengajyo will remain at 52 yen while other postcards go up 10 yen.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

sf2k: "Too bad about the beer, but the cost of butter being high is a good thing as it might reduce usage. Japan is already unfortunately pursuing a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) and receiving detrimental health effects"

That might actually make sense, if you chose to forget that they will instead use edible oil (margarine) and lard for cooking, which are both even worse.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Find beer too expensive? Drink whisky. Japan has some of the lowest whisky prices in the world. Where else can you buy 3 and 4 litre bottles at the grocery store for such a modest price. (I admit the low quality stuff is kind of vile, but ...it still works if mixed properly)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

most prices have been going up while wages have been stagnating or going down.

What's with highlighting these particular commodities?

postcards? Last time I sent one was a saucy double entendre wish you were here thing on summer holidays 40 years ago.

no Increase for daiginjo? Or gut-rot Shojo?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan is cutting her own throat with a very dull knife.

I guess its a privilage to eat, write letters, drink and breathe air here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

> Coy Perry June 1 07:53 pm JST

In Australia a bottle of Jack Daniels is about 3800 yen vs 1800 yen here. Therefore if revenue raising is for the purposes of schools, roads, hospitals or other public services, then I have no issue with it.

As a Finnish person, i think alike too .. the taxes pays many public services here, without the tax funding one would pay a lot more. We Finns have mentality that no finn is left behind! ... and i'm quite proud of it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Another "only in Japan" article.

"Furthermore, due to the increased cost of importing liquefied natural gas (LNG), . . ."

Well, this makes no sense. As LNG prices, as with all petroleum derived fuels, remain low.

The rest is again, an example of the sick joke that is Japanese agriculture. Barley may need to be imported for beer, but it's a mass-produced grain that is difficult to raise in soggy Japan. Drop the tariffs and rationalize Japanese agriculture!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Whiskey,Chu-hi, Shochu, all that far too cheap alcohols that make people quickly drunk and are a gate for alcool addiction should be increased with a high price hike

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Whst? No more 500ml cans of Chu-Hi for 230Yen at Gourmet City?

Blasphemy.

Of course less Japanese consuming liquor is not a factor on the price adjustement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

regulations that enabled excessive sales of alcoholic beverages at a discounted price 

Good grief, regulations permitted sales at discount prices. What is the world coming to. 

The new law will require mass merchandisers to raise the price of beer and happoshu (low-malt beer-like beverages) by about 10%.

How is government meddling in the price of certain products like this supposed to be a good idea?

The problem would be fixed if the liquor tax were abolished and any revenue shortfall made up for by a slight increase in the broader consumption tax. Let the consumers decide what they will consume, with the same level of consumption tax on everything so as not to distort their consumption decisions.

These increases are based on Japan’s fuel cost adjustment system that causes electricity and gas rates to fluctuate on a monthly basis.

Whatever would become of us without a fuel cost adjustment system...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TEPCO is in collusion with Tokyo Gas... So now, if you have both in your home, you are totally "thumb-screwed " for your money.

JapanPost can increase their charges, and New Year Card sales will fall. Ah, but being Japan, they will probably work with other Japanese institutions forcing us to send paper copies of documents by mail....

I wouldn't really mind the price hike, so long as I didn't suspect it was simply going to line the pockets of a number of blatantly corrupt Politicians and heads of Companies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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