World Stamps

Japan plans huge domestic postal rate increase for 2024

Jan 3, 2024, 1 PM
Japan is planning to increase its domestic letter rate from 84 yen to 110y later this year. This 2018 Japan 110y International Letter Writing Week stamp (Scott 4245) shows a woodblock print from Hiroshige’s Fifty-three Stations on the Tokaido Road.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

A potential large postage rate increase looks possible for Japan this fall, according to a Dec. 18 article published by the Japan Times.

The proposal being contemplated would move the current 84-yen letter rate to 110y (approximately US59¢ to 77¢) and the postcard rate from 63y to 85y (44¢ to 60¢).

“The ministry will solicit public feedback before revising the relevant ordinance pertaining to stamp prices, after which Japan Post will formally apply any change,” the Japan Times article said.

Collectors of Japanese stamps are likely aware of the implications of a large increase in the letter rate. Japan typically issues hundreds of stamps annually, many in 10-stamp panes with all-different designs. And sometimes, there are 20 stamps in two panes, one for the letter rate and the other for the postcard rate.

Japan’s postage rates have remained at the same level for decades, with only small increases in the last couple of years.

In 1994, the postage rate for a letter went from 62y to 80y, where it remained until 2014. Then, it increased a modest 2y to 82y, and another 2y to 84y in 2019. Those small increases were “due to consumption tax increases” according to the Japan Times.

The new proposed rates are still just that, a proposal, but it feels inevitable. Linn’s will continue to monitor this development and report on the new rates when they are finalized.

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