Inflation hitting Japan's music lovers

Shoppers in Japan are finding many things more expensive than ever. Excluding the effects of consumption tax hikes, inflation last month saw its fastest annual jump in three decades.

The rising prices are being felt by music lovers, as the cost of instruments has been on the up. That's down to a combination of the weak yen and soaring raw material costs for silver, copper and other metals.

An instrument store near Tokyo has hiked the prices of most items by up to 20 percent. It says monthly sales are down by as much as 40 percent on pre-pandemic levels.

Udagawa Tomohiro, a senior official of the store operator, says: "Even instruments that have been easy for customers to pick up in the past are now out of range due to the price hikes. I feel that people are reluctant to buy new instruments right now."

Some elementary school brass band clubs are feeling the pinch too. The head teacher of Takayama Elementary School feels they can't replace old instruments immediately and stay within their budget.

Yoshimura Tatsuyuki says: "We ask other schools to lend us instruments when we don't have enough. But that's reaching its limit. The school is now in a tough financial spot if we want to keep the band going."

The head says he is worried that if prices keep going up in future, new students might end up with nothing to play.