FOCUS: Surging Crude Oil Prices Weighing on Local Businesses


Tokyo, Nov. 12 (Jiji Press)--Surging crude oil prices are taking a toll on regional businesses in Japan, including transport companies and accommodation operators.

Nagano Unso, a transport company in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, is one such businesses. In Nagano, the average retail price of regular gasoline stood at 175.60 yen per liter as of Monday, the third highest figure among the country's 47 prefectures, after Nagasaki and Kagoshima in southwestern Japan, which have many remote islands.

Kiyoshi Matsumoto, president of Nagano Unso, with a history of over 70 years in the prefecture, said that prices of diesel fuel for trucks have jumped 50 pct from a year ago. The company's total fuel costs have increased 30 pct, and its operating profit in the first half of its current business year shrank 11.2 pct from a year before, according to Matsumoto.

In Hokkaido, northernmost Japan, rising fuel costs are strangling the local fishing industry, already suffering damage believed to be caused by red tide.

"Higher fuel costs are another blow to us at a time when red tide has been hampering our autumn salmon fishing," an official at a fisheries cooperative in the city of Kushiro said. An official at another cooperative, in the town of Erimo, said, "Prices of fishing nets and styrofoam used for transporting hauls are also rising."

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Jiji Press