October brings new systems, higher food and utility prices

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A poster announcing the October beer price increase is displayed at the Mega Don Quijote Fukaebashi store in Osaka on Sept. 22.

As calendar pages are turned to October, prices of groceries and other items will rise, and systems related to daily life will change.

For example, major non-life insurance companies plan to raise fire insurance premiums for homeowners by about 11% to 13%, taking into account a series of disasters that have struck the country.

The price of heated cigarettes will increase by ¥10 to ¥20 per pack for some products due to a cigarette tax rate increase.

Some products will see a price increase in November.

More than 6,500 food and beverage products, including ham and beer, are expected to see price hikes in October due to the rising prices of raw materials.

The minimum wage will increase in each prefecture, with the national average rising to ¥961, an increase of ¥31 from the previous fiscal year.

The employees’ pension system will facilitate enrollment of short-time workers, while the burden of unemployment insurance will increase for both workers and companies.

With regard to childcare-related matters, a paternity leave system will begin in October, allowing fathers to take up to four weeks off within eight weeks of the birth of their child.

A limit on the number of people entering the country, which was imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, will be removed on Oct. 11.

October will bring consumers some of the most significant price hikes of the year.

The number of food and beverage items expecting price hikes in October is more than 6,500, or 2.7 times as many as in September, according to a survey by private research company Teikoku Databank Ltd.

Rising prices are also affecting home appliances and housing equipment as well electricity and gas bills.

Four major beer firms — Asahi, Kirin, Suntory and Sapporo — plan to raise the prices they charge wholesalers of their mainstay beers starting on Saturday. The price of beer in stores is expected to increase by 4% to 13%.

Prices of beverages sold in plastic bottles, such as water, tea and carbonated water will also increase, with some products going up by more than 20%.

In the restaurant industry, the price of Yoshinoya Co.’s regular-sized gyudon beef bowl will rise from ¥426 to ¥448 for in-store dinning.

About half the menu items at the Gusto restaurant chain will see price increases, averaging more than 5%.

According to Teikoku Databank, many companies have become less resistant to revising their own prices in an environment where price hikes are already occurring on a wide range of products.

With the combined impacts of soaring raw material prices, the weak yen and high crude oil prices, many firms are raising prices of products whose prices have remained unchanged for many years.

Also, there have been many examples of products that have seen prices raised several times, such as ham, sausage and mayonnaise.