Prices of 2,800 food items to rise in April in Japan

Prices of food and drinks in Japan will rise in April reflecting increasing labor and transportation costs.

A survey of 195 food and beverage makers nationwide by a private research firm Teikoku Databank shows that the prices of 2,806 items will increase next month. Some will cost the same but the volume will be reduced.

It is a 48.1 percent drop from the number of items of which prices were increased a year ago. Last April, prices of 5,404 items were raised. But the increase this April is the largest since the beginning of the year.

Over 2,000 of them are frozen food and other processed food, including hams and sausages. Price increases are also planned for nearly 370 condiments such as broth products and ketchup, and about 290 alcoholic and other beverages.

The average rate of increase is about 23 percent in yen terms. It shows a moderate rising trend from one or two years ago.

Teikoku Databank says that the makers are passing labor costs on as wages rise.

Transport costs are also expected to rise as a cap on drivers' work hours will be imposed from April and that will worsen the driver shortage and possibly shrink the nation's shipping capacity.

The research firm expects more increases in the coming months, which stem from higher import costs due to the weaker yen and rising raw material costs because of global climate problems.