National / Politics

Japan opposition submits bill to relieve renters' pain amid pandemic

Jiji

Major opposition parties jointly submitted a bill Tuesday that would support companies having a tough time paying rent for their facilities in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill was entered in the Lower House by the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other parties, including Nippon Ishin no Kai.

It calls on government-affiliated Japan Finance Corp. to pay for about a year in rent for smaller businesses, self-employed people and startups whose sales have dropped 20 percent or more due to the virus crisis. If a business ends up not being able to repay the money to the lender, the government may be asked to shoulder the cost, according to the bill.

The opposition parties requested the government include about ¥5 trillion for the rent relief program in its draft supplementary budget for fiscal 2020, which is slated to be enacted Thursday.

The government and the Liberal Democratic Party-led ruling bloc agree that some sort of rent support is necessary, but they are taking the stance that specific measures should be covered in a second supplementary budget.

After submitting the bill, Yuichi Goto of the Democratic Party for the People told reporters, “We hope the ruling side will join us in discussions on the bill soon.”

The opposition bill includes a clause under which subsidies would be granted to property owners who cut rent for tenants. The provision was added at the request of Nippon Ishin.

“We have to work together because the government and the ruling bloc are very slow to act,” said Nippon Ishin member Yasushi Adachi.

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