The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled last week an economic package of COVID-19 measures, but the central government has, so far, been unwilling to support direct compensation for firms that agree to shut down at its request under his state of emergency declaration.

Last Tuesday, Abe said it was “impossible” for the government to directly compensate losses among individuals and entrepreneurs, giving the example of government being unable to make up for lost sales at high-class bars and nightclubs.

But regional governors have rebuked the government over its hesitance to take the initiative with a bold financial measure, leaving many business owners no choice but to continue operations amid the pandemic. Despite the government’s plea to drastically cut back people-to-people interaction, many firms feel forced to put employees’ lives at risk to keep making a livelihood.