FOCUS: Inflation Fight Major Issue in Japan Upper House Race

Politics

Tokyo, June 24 (Jiji Press)--Both Japan's ruling and opposition parties have put forward measures to address soaring food and commodity prices in their campaign pledges for the July 10 election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.

Whether the Bank of Japan should maintain its current massive monetary easing is another focus at a time when the very accommodative policy has resulted in the yen's weakening and a surge in prices of imported goods.

While the ruling Liberal Democratic Party touts steps taken so far by the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, also LDP president, such as subsidies paid to oil wholesalers to push down gasoline prices, opposition parties call for more direct support for households, including reducing or abolishing the consumption tax.

In Japan, the core consumer price index, which excludes often volatile fresh food prices, rose 2.1 pct from a year earlier to a record 101.6 in May, with the size of the growth matching that marked in April.

The CPI growth of 2 pct or higher was recorded for the first time in about 13 and a half years, excluding the period when the impact of the 3-percentage-point consumption tax hike in April 2014 remained. Prices are now rising for a wide range of items including electricity rates, gasoline and food, hitting households hard.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press