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Japan election

Kishida battles inflation as opposition goes on election attack

As upper house poll looms, Japanese PM attempts to soften price rises

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government budget for gasoline subsidies has ballooned as he tries to keep prices in check. (Source photos by Kai Fujii and Suzu Takahashi)

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is doubling down on a costly battle to protect households from rising food and energy prices as criticism over his government's response casts a shadow over next month's upper house election.

In recent weeks, Kishida's government has ramped up gasoline subsidies, launched a program aimed at curbing electricity costs and vowed to keep wheat products from becoming more expensive. The import-dependent economy is facing growing pressure from a falling yen, but the prime minister has called for the central bank to maintain its policy of monetary easing, warning that raising interest rates would be damaging for small businesses.

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