Tokyo (Japan): Japan’s cabinet on Friday decided to use 741.8 billion yen (7.15 billion US dollars) in reserve funds for fiscal 2020 to boost subsidies for restaurants and bars shortening their operating hours in line with the emergency virus declaration.
Amid a surge in virus cases, the Japanese government on Wednesday expanded its state of emergency to combat the third wave of infections to cover 11 prefectures nationwide.
These include Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Gifu, Fukuoka, and Tochigi, in addition to Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures that were declared a week ago.
Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday, 8th Jan vowed to hold the Olympic Games this summer as he declared a state of emergency in Tokyo following the surge in coronavirus cases.
Under the state of emergency through Feb. 7, restaurants and bars are asked to stop serving alcohol by 7:00 pm. and close their doors by 8:00 pm local time.
“The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country has created a situation that could have a serious impact on people’s lives and the economy. Therefore, I hereby declare a state of emergency based on the anti-virus law,” NHK World quoted Japan PM Suga as saying.
The extra funding will be made available so that regional governments can more easily provide financial support to restaurants and bars that comply with requests to shorten their operating hours.
State subsidies of up to 60,000 yen (578 U.S. dollars) per day will be made available, increasing from 40,000 yen when the state of emergency over the virus was declared in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures last week.
To provide such subsidies, the government had earmarked around 270 billion yen (2.60 billion US dollars) by the end of last year and allocated a total of 11.5 trillion yen (110.94 billion U.S. dollars) in reserve funds under two extra budgets for the current fiscal year to be used to combat the resurgent virus.
Japan’s economy will take a sizable hit if a state of emergency is declared in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures, media reported Wednesday citing analysts, ahead of the emergency declaration.
According to public broadcaster NHK, estimations from five economic analytics firms forecast the countries economy to shrink if the state of emergency is introduced even for just one month.
The estimations range from a 0.3 percent to a 0.88 contraction due to plummeting consumer spending and limits of dining hours.
NHK cites the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute as predicting a loss of 75,000 jobs over six months after the potential declaration — ANI/Xinhua