Govt to Extend Subsidies to Curb Record Gasoline Prices

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida answers questions from reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday that the government will extend and expand its subsidy program aimed at lowering gasoline prices.

The government plans to extend the program, currently set to expire at the end of September, until the end of this year.

“We aim to bring down gasoline prices to around ¥175 per liter by the end of October,” Kishida told reporters.

The nationwide average retail price of regular gasoline stood at a record high of ¥185.6 per liter as of Monday, according to the industry ministry.

The subsidies are provided to refineries to help lower retail prices at gas stations. Beginning Sept. 7, the rate of subsidies will be raised from 30% at present.

In addition, the requirements for providing additional subsidies that will become available when the anticipated gasoline price exceeds government-set standards will be eased.

Kishida also said the government will keep measures aimed at curbing electricity and gas costs in place beyond the planned expiration in September.

The government has been gradually reducing the gasoline subsidies since June due to the relative stability of crude oil prices. Gasoline prices soared, however, due to a recent spike in crude oil prices and a weaker yen.

The government is expected to draw up a large-scale economic package, including measures to lower electricity and gas prices, as early as September.