Economy minister open to extending gasoline subsidies

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Gas station staff refuel a car in Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture, in June.

The gasoline subsidy to keep pump prices from skyrocketing is set to expire at the end of September, but economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Sunday the government favors extending it into October and beyond.

“We would like to keep the price as low as possible while monitoring the situation,” the economy, trade and industry minister said during an NHK TV program.

The government has been providing subsidies to oil wholesalers since January and is currently trying to keep the average retail price of regular gasoline nationwide at ¥168 per liter.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which started in February, has spread supply concerns. Crude oil prices are also at a high level.

“Inflation is the most important issue for the Kishida administration,” Nishimura said on the program. “We must take all possible measures to deal with the situation.”

Regarding the stable supply of electricity, he said that his ministry would make every effort to operate up to nine nuclear power plants during the winter, adding, “We will steadily proceed with further resumption of operations with a view to next summer.”