Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet decided Tuesday to disburse ¥1.14 trillion ($11 billion) from reserve funds for fiscal 2020, mainly to increase subsidies for coronavirus pandemic-hit sectors following a one-month extension of the latest emergency declaration.
The funding includes ¥880.2 billion to be given to local municipalities so that they can offer financial aid for restaurants and bars that comply with requests to close early, with state subsidies of up to ¥60,000 per day available.
Food service operators have been asked to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and close by 8 p.m. under the government’s second state of emergency declaration, which was extended to March 7 for 10 prefectures.
The state of emergency, declared for the Tokyo metropolitan area on Jan. 7 and later expanded to cover 11 prefectures, was originally scheduled to end last Sunday.
But it was extended by a month as hospitals remain under pressure despite declining coronavirus cases, with Tochigi Prefecture the only area to have the order lifted.
For businesses such as those supplying chopsticks and hand towels to dining and drinking establishments, ¥249.0 billion was earmarked for one-off benefits.
The suppliers can receive up to ¥600,000, increased from the initial upper limit of ¥400,000 following the emergency extension, if their sales fell remarkably from the previous year.
To conduct monitoring surveys including polymerase chain reaction tests at emergency-targeted areas after the declaration was lifted, ¥8.1 billion was set aside.
The government has set aside a total of ¥11.50 trillion in reserve funds for the current fiscal year through March to be used in response to the pandemic. Following Tuesday’s Cabinet approval, ¥2.68 trillion remains in the funds.
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