A man purchases meat at a shop in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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Tokyo consumer prices rise 3.6% in November; biggest increase in 4 decades

30 Comments

Consumer prices in Tokyo rose 3.6 percent in November from a year earlier, marking the steepest increase since 1982 amid higher energy and food prices that are increasingly squeezing household budgets, government data showed Friday.

The yen's sharp depreciation has been inflating import costs for resource-poor Japan, with the core consumer price index excluding volatile fresh food items up for the 15th straight month, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The inflation data for Tokyo is seen as an indication of what to expect nationwide and the latest figure shows inflationary pressure has been persisting. It stayed above the Bank of Japan's 2 percent target for the sixth straight month.

The pace of gain accelerated from 3.4 percent in October, with the November core CPI figure at its highest since the 4.2 percent recorded in April 1982. The gain in prices was larger than that which followed the country's introduction of a 3 percent consumption tax in 1989.

The rising cost of living has led the government to draw up inflation-relief measures for struggling households and businesses. The nationwide core CPI already reached 3.6 percent in October and economists expect further gains toward year-end.

Accelerating inflation has been complicating the BOJ's efforts to persist with an ultralow rate policy, a key factor behind the yen's sharp decline as its global peers have been raising interest rates to curb soaring inflation.

Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has said the sharp gains seen in recent months will not continue next year because most of them are due to higher commodity and import costs.

Still, higher prices of everyday goods are already dampening consumer sentiment although private consumption, a key component of the economy, has so far been supported by pent-up demand after the removal of anti-coronavirus curbs.

Energy prices surged 24.4 percent, marking yet another month of double-digit growth as electricity and gas prices rose sharply. The prices of food, excluding perishable items, jumped 6.7 percent

Following sharp gains, partly prompted by supply concerns amid Russia's war in Ukraine, crude oil prices have shown signs of stabilizing. But they have a lagging impact on utilities and the government is planning to reduce household bills for electricity and gas starting next year.

Helped by government subsidies to oil wholesalers to lower retail prices, gasoline prices slipped 0.8 percent, marking the first drop since February last year. The pace of gain in kerosene prices slowed to 6.7 percent from 11.4 percent in October, the data showed.

Still, city gas prices soared 33.0 percent and electricity prices gained 26.0 percent.

The overall gain in core CPI came despite a drag from accommodation fees, which fell 16.6 percent amid the government's discount program to revive local tourism hit by COVID-19. The government plans to retain the program next year.

The government and the BOJ stress the need for more robust wage growth, which is critical for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's push for wealth redistribution and for the central bank to attain its 2 percent inflation target in a stable and sustainable fashion.

The continued rise in inflation has not swayed the BOJ into tweaking its monetary policy because it takes the view that the current inflation is not backed by wage growth and strong domestic demand but external factors such as commodity prices.

So-called core-core CPI, which strips away both energy and fresh food, rose 2.5 percent, up for the 8th straight month.

© KYODO

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

30 Comments
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So that's why I'm broke.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The last one that was this big was driven by massive popular demand due to the dynamic economy of the times. This one has just made pretty much everyone just that much poorer.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

More like 10% onwards I’ve noticed, and my wages? What a joke

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Would not at all be surprised if they again raise the sales tax to increase defense funding.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

The rising cost of living has led the government to draw up inflation-relief measures for struggling households and businesses.

But, they explicitly said they wanted to have inflation…

Accelerating inflation has been complicating the BOJ's efforts to persist with an ultralow rate policy

but but but, they said achieving inflation was the reason for the low rate policy…

Is it not now clearly the case that the true motive of the ultra low rate policy is not to generate dreaded inflation, but to bankroll government spending that is wildly in excess of government revenues?

The government and the BOJ stress the need for more robust wage growth

The government has made no significant policy changes that could lead to such wage growth in a sustainable manner. They haven’t got a clue.

And the BOJ is all talk, but they are just printing money to bankroll the idealess government. As if printing money would have anything to do with real wage increases.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

has so far been supported by pent-up demand after the removal of anti-coronavirus curbs.

Which curbs? The last of the curbs were removed 8 months ago, and those weren't much to begin with.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The thing everybody cares about, food prices, have been up at least 10%.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

By next Nov they will have doubled.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Kick Kuroda out already.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

And salaries have decreased by 30% over the same period in the rich country.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Which curbs? The last of the curbs were removed 8 months ago, and those weren't much to begin with.

What calendar are you looking at? The curbs on international travel have just been lifted recently, for incoming tourists, and international flights are just starting to pickup. There are other "curbs" that have just been lifted recently as well.

Oh and masks are still the norm, as the government only "raised" the recommendations regarding masks to being outside and such.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

And salaries have decreased by 30% over the same period in the rich country.

Wages havent decreased, they have just been stagnant for a couple of decades, while taxes and prices have increased.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Yubaru.

Actually you are wrong.

Take for example the ALT salary .

In 2008 -2010 the average ALT salary per month was anything in-between ¥235- 250,000 per month ( before tax etc) often including health and pension coverage.

The average in Aichi at the moment is ¥215 -230,000 per month and in most cases these contracts do NOT include health and pension coverage!

So when you say salaries haven't gone down.. actually in some industries they have and they will continue to do so.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Yubaru

And salaries have decreased by 30% over the same period in the rich country.

Wages havent decreased, they have just been stagnant for a couple of decades, while taxes and prices have increased.

I thought so too, until I came across this one, courtesy of...the NHK.

Seems like salaries peaked out mid-90s, dropped end-90s, crashed and burned over last decade then vaguely recovered to 1991-levels (which was before the peak-out a few years later).

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/1861/

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Still, city gas prices soared 33.0 percent and electricity prices gained 26.0 percent.

We're on Chubu, and I've not noticed our electricity bill rising this much. If it did, it would take a very unrealistic calculation to still get inflation out at three point something percent. However, the news in the last couple of days has mentioned other regional power companies applying for permission for implement big price hikes from April. Big as in 30%.

I'm sure everyone knows lots of examples of food inflation. Sanma fish used to be 100 yen each, now its over 200 for a smaller one. The pork belly I use to make bacon used to be 100 yen for 100g but is now 175 or more. The Tilipia frozen white fish fillets I used to buy at Costco for 1200 yen to make my kids fish and chips are now 2800 yen. I used to have no problem finding enjoyable coffee for 150 yen for 100 grams, but that only gets you something pretty rough now. About the only thing that hasn't gone up is beer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The prices of certain items has doubled this year! It’s not only a rise of a few percentage. Yet, no direct assistance from the Great Government of Japan for its citizens and long term residents. They’ll continue to waste taxpayers money on irrelevant things while the general public suffer to make ends meet. These inflation and hardship doesn’t affect the politicians who are on hefty salaries and live like royalties so they’ll never care about normal people.

There was so much negative talk and rumors spread by politicians and the media about how 1% of people misused their 100,000¥ stimulus money yet none of them ever mentioned how that money helped the other 99% with their daily living! All that rumor was just created by the government as to avoid giving out any more stimulus money to its people!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

These rising costs, plus paying for a scandal-ridden Olympics, paying for Mr. Abe's multiple funerals, being expected by some panel to "shoulder a heavier burden" to buy some rockets (which don't have much in the way of nutritional value), and somehow saving ¥20-30 million for retirement. What a wonderful life it is.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

hold on I thought it was all Bridenflation, you know Biden is responsible for worldwide inflation and gas prices!?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Its a bit more than 4%... more like 14% !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with @dan - if you've stayed with the same Company - it's unlikely that your Salary would have increased. If you've left (been fired) and rejoined another, it's quite likely that you will be paid less for doing almost the same work - particularly in IT, given the huge number of IT workers now who've been laid off.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Time to leave the big cities where all the SHARKS are at and move to the countryside for PEACE and Comfort away from the scammers and price gougers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Take for example the ALT salary .

Ok, however keep in mind ALT's salaries were overly-high, in comparison to what a Japanese licensed teacher gets, for the job that they do.

But, when I stated salaries have actually dropped, I never considered ALT's, as they are victims of a true market economy, and their own doing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I thought this was interesting: https://jp.reuters.com/article/us-japan-economy-boj-aso-idINKCN1QV3DT

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We take little notice of the cost of goods or services, we simply pay for what we want and live within our means.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

fxgai

The government has made no significant policy changes that could lead to such wage growth in a sustainable manner. 

Corporate Japan raked in the highest profits in its history under the accommodative policies during the Abenomics era, including the corporate-tax hike and a tidal wave of nearly free money. If they refused to give substantive wage hikes under those circumstances, they will always refuse to give substantive wage hikes. Wage-suppression policies are in line with neo-liberal economics, after all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If JT would allow posting of images, then I would prove what I say, regarding the basics of price increases here in Tokyo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If they refused to give substantive wage hikes under those circumstances, they will always refuse to give substantive wage hikes.

That type of pessimistic thinking, is a recommendation for young people especially to just give up on Japan and head for other pastures.

Fortunately, with good policy changes (for a change), things can get better in Japan.

Wage-suppression policies are in line with neo-liberal economics, after all.

Japan does not have neoliberal policies, yet wages have stagnated, so here all you provided is off topic trash talk.

Japan is in a massive hole and it won’t be easy to get out, but ultimately a freer economy, with less government interference in everything, more competition, is one way to improve things. Call this type of normal economy a “neo-liberal” one if you like.

Maybe Japan will come up with a better alternative to what its got all on its own of course, but more of the current failed settings isn’t going to cut it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

so here all you provided is off topic trash talk.

Really? I directly refuted the assertion in your comment by citing a documented fact and a couple of real-world and verifiable examples, ie, things that actually happened. If you think that's "off topic trash talk", then you're in serious need of a reality check.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tokyo consumer prices rise 3.6% in November; biggest increase in 4 decades

Japan's ineptness in handling the Covid crisis is having a harsh effect on its economy.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan's ineptness in handling the Covid crisis is having a harsh effect on its economy.

Do you have a source that argues that the pandemic is the cause of the economic problems? because much more obvious reasons are clearly being listed even on this article.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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