新年度＝a new fiscal and academic yearスタートの4月1日から、いろいろな変更点がありました。まずは、日用品がまた値上がり、家計を直撃です。
見出し： Family budgets bear brunt of further food price hikes
※bear brunt of～ ～をまともに受ける、～の矢面に立つ
A raft of price hikes for food and daily necessities will hit consumers in Japan at the start of April.
Prices of various products will increase because a wide range of commodity prices are soaring, including wheat and soybean prices.
Eateries that serve dishes representative of Osaka’s flour-based food culture, such as takoyaki fried octopus dumplings and okonomiyaki savory pancakes, have been hit by further price hikes for raw materials.
Takoyaki and okonomiyaki restaurants have already been buffeted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has caused a drastic drop in footfall.
※buffet ビュッフェ、（強く）打つ、殴る 受け身で〈困難・運命などが〉〈人などを〉翻弄ほんろうする
※footfall 足音、足取り、店舗通過人数 customer footfall＝客数
Also on Friday, a new law to promote recycling of plastic resources will take effect, requiring retailers and restaurants to reduce single-use plastic items including cutlery distributed to customers.
※single-use 使い捨ての →disposal
Japan will lower the age of adulthood from 20 to 18 in April by revising the Civil Code and changing the legal definition of an adult for the first time in over 140 years, opening up new freedoms and responsibilities for 18- and 19-year-olds.
With the changes, 18-year-olds and 19-year-olds, who until now have been legally viewed as minors, will be able to enter into a contract (契約を締結する) without parental consent.
Such contracts include purchasing a cellphone, taking out a car loan（車のローンを組む）, signing an apartment lease and signing up for credit cards.
Changes to Japan's Juvenile Law to implement stricter punishments for 18- and 19-year-old criminal offenders will also come into effect on April 1.
The current limit is 70 years old. Those deferring the start time will enjoy an increase in pension benefits.
From the start of fiscal 2022 in April, fertility treatment such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization will join the list of items covered by the public insurance.
Soaring energy prices have already jacked up electricity rates.
The maximum tolls on Tokyo’s Metropolitan Expressway will rise to ¥1,950 from ¥1,320 for standard-size cars with engine displacement of more than 2,000 cc.
※jack up ～をジャッキで持ち上げる、〔料金などを〕つり上げる、引き上げる
※engine displacement=排気量 displacement立ち退き、追い出し、解職、排出