JAPAN - The total prizes given for first prize and the tickets with numbers immediately before and after the first prize numbers of this year's Year-end Jumbo Takarakuji lottery are scheduled to be raised from last year's ¥600 million to ¥700 million (S$8.9 million), it has been learned.
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry approved the plan. This is the second year in a row that the prizes have been raised with an eye to increase lottery sales, which have plateaued.
The first prize is raised to ¥500 million from ¥400 million. Prizes for the tickets with numbers adjacent to the first prize numbers remain at ¥100 million.
The ministry also approved the sales of tickets for the tentatively titled Jumbo Mini lottery, whose first prize is ¥70 million, at the same time.
The profits of Takarakuji lottery sales go to local governments. However, annual sales have steadily declined from the peak of about ¥1.11 trillion in 2005. Last year's sales were ¥913.5 billion.
The Year-end Jumbo lottery is a major lottery whose sales account for about 20 per cent of all Takarakuji lottery sales.
"Sales of lottery tickets increased with the prize hike last year," said an official at the national secretariat of the Jichi-Takarakuji lottery selling body, which comprises local governments.
In 2012, the ministry revised a related law to make it possible to raise the upper limit of the lottery prize to ¥750 million for ¥300 tickets.