Japan Tobacco Inc. said Aug. 14 that it is looking to increase the retail prices of its tobacco products in Japan in relation to the expected excise tax hike Oct. 1.
The Tokyo-based company said it is seeking the approval of the country's finance minister on the price change. It applied to raise the price of 143 products, including 122 cigarettes products, one cigarillo product, three cut tobacco products, three pipe tobacco products and 14 snuff tobacco products.
It also applied to increase the price of seven Ploom Tech products in the tobacco vapor segment.
The move comes amid decreasing sales volumes in the Japanese tobacco market, which Japan Tobacco said was due to "structural factors" such as the aging and declining adult population in the country along with increasingly stringent smoking restrictions.
The company said it has been maintaining the quality and price levels under these circumstances through cost-cutting initiatives, but that these cost reductions are no longer enough to sustain the quality of its products and other services.
The company said the price hikes will vary among different brands and products "to ensure that the quality of each product will be maintained and that consumer expectations [will] continue to be met."
The new prices will take effect Oct. 1, subject to the finance minister's approval.