National

Abe's cash handout program won't start soon in many cities

Kyodo

Just 29 of Japan’s 47 municipalities hosting prefectural government offices are planning to start emergency cash handouts within May, a Kyodo News tally has shown in a sign that the coronavirus pandemic has complicated administrative efforts to swiftly implement relief measures.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been aiming for the distribution of ¥100,000 ($936) per resident this month. But many municipalities are also busy implementing steps to contain the virus under the nationwide state of emergency, which is almost certain to be extended for another month through early June, the tally showed Friday.

The Diet enacted Thursday a ¥25.69 trillion budget for fiscal 2020 to finance an emergency policy package, including the cash handouts.

The municipal government of Wakayama is aiming to provide the money this month, saying officials there are working to that end without taking days off.

Kobe is also one of the 29, saying it is planning to first send application forms to households with children to ensure that families in need will receive necessary documents quickly.

The 29 municipalities include Aomori, Morioka, Sendai, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima, Mito, Utsunomiya, Maebashi, Chiba, Kanazawa, Kofu, Nagano, Gifu, Tsu, Kobe, Nara, Wakayama, Matsue, Okayama, Yamaguchi, Takamatsu, Matsuyama, Kochi, Fukuoka, Shiga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Miyazaki.

Among other municipalities, eight including Shizuoka, Osaka and Hiroshima said they are aiming to start distributing the handouts in June or later, while 10, including Sapporo, Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, said they were unable to clearly state when they would start.

Many of the municipalities grappling with the coronavirus said it will take time to create and send necessary documentation to households.

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