Japan approves plans by Tokyo-based units of Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco to raise prices of cigarettes sold in country in order to combat consumption tax increase in April

TOKYO , March 7, 2014 () – Japan's Finance Ministry has decided to approve plans by two foreign tobacco makers to raise prices of cigarettes sold in the country in order to pass a consumption tax hike in April on to the consumer, Jiji Press learned Thursday.

The ministry intends to announce soon approval of applications made by Tokyo-based units of Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco PLC.

On April 1, Philip Morris Japan K.K. will raise the price of Marlboro, its flagship brand, by 20 yen per pack of 20 cigarettes to 460 yen and the price of Lark by 10 yen to 420 yen.

British American Tobacco Japan Ltd. will raise the price of Kent by 10 yen to 410 yen or 420 yen and the price of Lucky Strike by 20 yen to 460 yen.

The two firms are the second and the third largest tobacco companies, respectively, in terms of sales in Japan.

Most of their main products are currently sold for either 410 yen or 440 yen per pack. The consumption tax on a pack of smokes will increase by about 12 yen after the tax is raised from 5 pct to 8 pct.

But the makers have set their markups in increments of 10 yen in order to deal with vending machines and plan to match the tax increase as a whole.

The Finance Ministry has already approved a plan by industry leader Japan Tobacco Inc. to raise its prices in April.END

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