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About 40 percent of the nation’s municipalities began accepting online applications for the government’s ¥100,000 universal cash handout program, internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi said Friday.

Application processing for the coronavirus-relief payments is now underway in 679 of Japan’s 1,741 municipalities, she said. The cash handouts are part of the government’s economic relief package designed to ease the impact of the pandemic.

The internal affairs ministry plans to call on other municipalities to follow suit as quickly as possible so distribution of the benefits can start by the end of the month. Those looking to receive the handout must submit an application listing their bank account information to their local municipality, either by mail or online.

As preparations for mailed-in applications will take time, Takaichi called on those who are using their My Number social security and taxation identification cards to apply online instead.

Online applications can be made on the bilingual Mynaportal website for My Number-related services.

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