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Japan railway operators set to raise fares in line with October sales tax hike

A JR East sign is seen in this April 4, 2019 file photo. (Mainichi/Kazuhisa Soneda)

TOKYO -- Five Japan Railway (JR) group firms and 16 major private railway companies in the country on July 2 applied with the transport ministry to raise their fares to reflect the upcoming consumption tax hike from 8% to 10% in October.

In line with the applications filed with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, fares of the 21 companies are set to increase by 1.85% on average from Oct. 1. It will be the first time for the five JR group firms to increase their fares since Japan raised its consumption tax rate from 5% to 8% in April 2014.

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) will raise its minimum fare from 140 yen to 150 yen. West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) is set increase its minimum fares in specific sections, including those in the central part of Osaka in western Japan, from 120 yen to 130 yen -- up 10 yen each. It will be the first time for JR Central and JR West to raise their minimum fares since the foundation of JR in 1987.

Both Shikoku Railway Co. (JR Shikoku) and Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) are also set to raise their minimum fares, from 160 yen to 170 yen, for the first time since January 1996.

East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) will retain its minimum ticket fares for specific sections of the Yamanote Line and in the Greater Tokyo Area at 140 yen. JR East will continue to raise fares in increments of 1 yen for users of IC cards, which were introduced in April 2014 along with the fare increase. Minimum fares in those specific sections will go up from 133 yen to 136 yen for IC card users.

(Japanese original by Keigetsu Hirai, City News Department)

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