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The Cabinet decided Friday to use ¥549.2 billion ($5.2 billion) in reserve funds for fiscal 2020 to finance an extension in subsidy programs designed to help struggling business operators during the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding includes ¥439.1 billion to extend by three months to December a special assistance measure for firms that are forced to furlough employees due to a virus-triggered downturn in their business.

The ¥8,330 per worker, per day subsidy was available for disaster- or downturn-hit businesses before the pandemic, but its upper limit was increased to ¥15,000 when the scale of the coronavirus crisis became apparent.

The government set aside ¥86 billion to put toward an existing subsidy program aimed at encouraging domestic manufacturers to reshore their overseas production bases. The push to bring business activity back to Japan is intended to help shore up supply chains in case of emergencies.

The government also allocated ¥24.1 billion to maintain support for farmers and those in the fisheries industry.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said during a news conference, “The government is determined to firmly support business continuation and help people stay employed. The additional funds are expected to spur investment in tackling new challenges and lead to economic recovery.”

The government has set aside a total of ¥11.5 trillion in reserve funds under two extra budgets for the current fiscal year from April to be used in response to the pandemic. Following Friday’s Cabinet approval, ¥7.28 trillion remains in the funds.

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