23% of major Japanese firms may raise prices next year on rising costs

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Nearly a quarter of major companies in Japan are considering raising the prices of their products next year or later due to increasing material costs and a weaker yen, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

Of the 80 companies surveyed, including Toyota Motor Corp., Nintendo Co. and Shiseido Co., 23 percent said they are mulling price hikes on consumer products, while 49 percent said they were undecided about doing so.

Among multiple answers on why they are thinking of a price hike, many cited the rising costs of materials, followed by an increase in shipping costs and the yen’s depreciation.

The survey, conducted from Nov. 7 to 21 on 107 companies, of which 80 firms responded, also found that 15 percent did not reveal their decision on whether a price increase is in the works.

The survey results were released as consumer prices in November in Tokyo gained 3.6 percent from a year earlier, marking the steepest rise since 1982 amid higher energy and food prices that increasingly squeeze household budgets, according to government data released Friday.

The inflation data for Tokyo is seen as an indication of what to expect nationwide.

In the survey, only Torikizoku Holdings Co., an operator of a chain of “izakaya” Japanese-style pubs, said that it is not considering raising prices.

Asked how many price hikes they carried out this year, 13 percent said they have never done so, while 29 percent answered once and 14 percent said twice.

Those that raised prices three times and those that raised four times constituted 3 percent, respectively, and those that did so five or more times were 4 percent.

Asked to what extent they could absorb costs based on a price increase, most of the companies said they were able to retrieve less than 70 percent of the costs.

Yorifusa Wakabayashi, the president of Daio Paper Corp., said that a decline in sales volume is “inevitable” and that he had ordered the sales team to secure profit.

Daio Paper will increase its consumer products, including facial tissue, toilet paper and kitchen paper, by more than 20 percent starting Jan. 21.

Meanwhile, only 6 percent said they will raise employee wages in response to a question on whether a pay raise is planned for next year amid higher commodity prices.

Companies that said they will consider doing so stood at 18 percent, while 3 percent said they will not, according to the survey.

The survey also found that 30 percent are uncertain about a pay raise in 2023, and 33 percent did not disclose their decision.




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