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The national government will instruct local governments to reduce or eliminate public health premiums of people who have lost their jobs, labor minister Chikara Sakaguchi said Wednesday.

Sakaguchi, minister of health, labor and welfare, told the Diet that 95 percent of the nation’s municipalities now have an ordinance aimed at implementing premium reductions or exemptions in cases of payment difficulties due to loss of income. Layoffs fall under this category.

“It’s not 100 percent yet,” Sakaguchi told the House of Councilors Budget Committee, referring to the ratio of local governments that have enacted the ordinance. “I would like to ask (the remaining 5 percent to enact one) so all municipalities will have such an ordinance.”

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