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Ruling and opposition lawmakers are working on rent relief for restaurants and other businesses being forced to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling coalition wants to give financial aid directly to these businesses to help them pay their rents, while opposition parties are trying to have the government pay the rents in advance.

"Businesses have to pay rents even though they are shut down" as requested by authorities, Hiroshi Moriyama, Diet affairs chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters Wednesday.

Moriyama's comments came after he met with Jun Azumi, his counterpart from the major opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, to discuss the matter.

Azumi proposed that the two sides work together on the rent relief. As they agree to take steps as early as possible, the focus is on whether they can narrow down the gap.

The LDP is considering including direct rent aid in a proposed second supplementary budget. Another option being considered is using grants to local governments under the first supplementary budget to finance the aid.

Opposition parties have basically agreed on a plan to allow the state to pay rents in advance, using funds from the government-affiliated Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation.

Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the Democratic Party for the People, expressed the opposition side's readiness to revise its plan. "Our plan is only a basis for discussion," he said at a news conference.

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