Japan mulls new stimulus package to weather soaring fuel prices – Reuters’ Kyodo

©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Japanese yen note is seen in this illustrative photo taken on June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is considering putting together a new stimulus package focused on easing pain from high energy costs that are expected to persist amid conflict in Ukraine, Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday.

The package, to be put together after the fiscal 2022 budget is passed in parliament, would include the extension of temporary subsidies for energy wholesalers, which expire at the end of this month, Kyodo said.

A day earlier, lawmakers in the ruling coalition had called for more spending to cushion the economic hit of the Ukraine crisis, which has hit homes and retailers by pushing up already soaring energy and food prices.

The ruling coalition, along with the centre-right opposition Democratic Party for the People (DPFP), on Wednesday agreed to explore releasing a “release clause” that would lift the gasoline tax if the price of fuel hits 160 yen ($1.35). ) exceeds more than three months, DPFP Secretary-General Kazuya Shimba told reporters.

This clause was frozen in 2011 to secure funds for reconstruction after a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Instead, in January, the government launched the temporary program to subsidize gasoline prices above the 170 yen per liter threshold. On Wednesday, that subsidy was raised to the upper limit of 25 yen for next week after gasoline prices rose for the 10th straight week.

($1 = 118.1900 yen)

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Chris Barrese

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