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The labor ministry said Friday it has decided to extend a special measure under the government’s employment adjustment subsidy plan by three months until the end of this year.

The ministry believes that the extension is necessary for preventing an increase in the number of people losing their jobs as the prolonged coronavirus crisis makes an early recovery in corporate earnings difficult.

But labor minister Katsunobu Kato told a news conference that the special measure will be phased out unless the employment situation worsens rapidly.

Companies that put workers on paid leave are given subsidies under the scheme to cover up to two-thirds of the amount of leave allowances.

Under the special measure, introduced in response to the coronavirus crisis, the coverage is raised to up to 100 percent for small companies. In addition, the upper limit on the amount of subsidies is raised to ¥15,000 per day per employee from ¥8,370.

As of Thursday, the number of applications had totaled more than 980,000, with decisions having been made on the distribution of nearly ¥1 trillion in subsidies.

The scheme still has roughly ¥600 billion in financial resources. But the money could dry up if the number of furloughed employees increases.

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