Japan's electricity bills to go up next month

People living in Japan will be paying more for electricity starting next month. That's after the government approved rate increases requested by major power companies. The biggest jump will be nearly 40 percent.

Japanese Industry Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi said," We recalculated the rates after carefully considering the latest fuel prices and other factors."

The Industry Ministry says it also took workers' pay levels into account.

Government approval is needed before rates can go up for power mainly used at home.

The seven firms, including Tokyo Electric Power Company, had asked the government to let them raise their fees. They say their balance sheets are suffering due to soaring prices of natural gas used in thermal power generation.

The average increase will start at 15 percent and vary according to company.

Once the Industry Ministry approves, the rates will be raised in June.