Japan Govt eyes measures to maintain wheat prices

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
An employee arranges bread at a bakery in Shizuoka in February.

The administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering keeping the price of imported wheat purchased by the government and sold to flour millers at the current level from October onward, it has been learned.

There had been expectations of a significant price rise due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kishida is expected to officially announce the decision on Monday.

Imported wheat is used to make bread, noodles, and other products, so a rise in the price would have a significant impact.

The government aims to reduce the burden on households by keeping the price unchanged. The price is reviewed twice a year, in April and October.

The price was raised by 17.3% in April to an average of ¥72,530 per ton, the second-highest price since 2007 when comparable figures were first recorded.

A poor harvest in North America was the main reason for the increase in April. The impact of the situation in Ukraine was expected to be reflected in prices from October.

Measures to combat surging prices are being considered by the government. Officials from companies and organizations were invited to the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday to share their opinions on price trends.

“If the price of wheat goes up, we will have no choice but to revise our prices,” said Yamazaki Baking Co. President Nobuhiro Iijima, who attended the meeting. “We asked [the government] for measures to avoid this problem.”