• Jiji


The government plans to provide “strong aid” to small and midsize companies making efforts to revamp businesses and improve productivity to realize wage hikes, a draft of its economic stimulus package showed Monday.

The aid program is aimed at accelerating implementation of the wealth redistribution policy under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration. The government is scheduled to adopt the economic package on Friday.

According to the draft, the government will continue its Go To Eat campaign supporting eateries hit by the COVID-19 crisis, and projects to assist event organizers and shopping streets until around next year’s Golden Week holiday period, between late April and early May, while monitoring the infection situation.

The economic package will stress the government’s plan to promote both economic growth and wealth redistribution, and notes that it is “important to achieve growth equivalent to that of other advanced nations and make a full jump-start on strengthening people’s purchasing power,” according to the draft.

The government hopes to support the stagnant Japanese economy with a “16-month budget” combining a supplementary budget of this fiscal year and next fiscal year’s regular budget.

It aims to raise the country’s average minimum hourly wage to ¥1,000 at an early date.

To achieve the minimum wage hike, the economic package will provide greater support to business operators that improve their treatment of workers, according to the draft.

The government is also planning to boost the incomes of nurses, workers providing elderly care and teachers at nurseries and kindergartens, and accelerate efforts on securing funds to deliver a 3% wage increase.

As part of the economic package, the government will provide up to ¥2.5 million in benefits to companies and up to ¥500,000 to self-employed people if they have suffered declining sales amid the virus crisis.

Additionally, the package will include a special grant system to support local governments that provide aid that helps impoverished people purchase kerosene amid soaring crude oil prices.

On economic security, the draft said that the government will “promote the development of production sites for semiconductors as well as (COVID-19) vaccines and drugs to secure a strategic industrial foundation in the country.” It indicated the government’s policy of providing related support from a medium- and long-term perspective by using a fund and other means.

Regarding the Go To Travel domestic tourism promotion campaign, the government plans to make preparations for its resumption in line with the infection situation after considering whether to review the discount rates and other details of the program.

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