According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number of applications for public assistance in July this year was 22,016 nationwide, an increase of 1259, or 6.1%, from July last year.

It's the third straight month that it surpassed the same month in the previous year.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare says that it is difficult to analyze the impact of soaring prices at this stage, but ``people who are having trouble with their lives should not hesitate to consult with the local government.''