Photo/Illutration Prices of air conditioners and other electric appliances are rising due to higher costs for materials and transportation. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

The consumer price index jumped by 2.8 percent in August from the same month last year, the steepest rise in 30 years and 11 months, the internal affairs ministry said Sept. 20.

It was the 12th straight month of increase and the fifth consecutive month of consumer prices surging by more than 2 percent.

Energy and food prices shot up due to the weakening yen and soaring material costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Some mobile phone carriers introduced discount plans in August 2021. But the effects from the reduced fees wore off last month, further pushing up the CPI.

Overall energy costs soared by 16.9 percent year on year, with electricity jumping by 21.5 percent and gas bills in urban areas rising by 26.4 percent.

Excluding perishables, food prices were up 4.1 percent, with fried chicken costing 9.4 percent more and fast-food hamburger prices up by 11.2 percent.

Excluding periods when the consumption tax rate was raised, the last time the CPI increased at this rate was in September 1991, right after the collapse of the asset-inflated economic boom that lasted for more than four years.

Unlike during the bubble economy, wage increases now are not keeping up with inflation, and the higher prices are weighing heavily on household budgets.

Inflation-adjusted real wage growth was up 1.1 percent in 1991 year on year, while it was down 1.3 percent in July this year, the fourth straight month of decline.