Tax-deductible donations to local governments that allow people to receive local specialties in return have jumped sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, city officials and operators of donation websites say.

Under the furusato nōzei program aimed at aiding rural economies, people can make donations to municipalities where they do not reside. In addition to receiving tax breaks, they can get items in return such as local food from their chosen municipalities. Such gifts appear to have become more attractive as people spend more time at home.

Operators of websites that mediate between municipalities and donors are projecting that the amount raised for fiscal 2020 through next March will top the record of ¥512.7 billion in fiscal 2018.