In late April, the government of Japan announced that it would be making a one-time, across-the-board ¥100,000 ($930) cash payment to every resident of Japan in order to mitigate the economic fallout from the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Resident foreigners who have a Resident Card also qualify.
In announcing the decision, the government said that the purpose of the cash subsidy is to help support people’s livelihoods. Because the state-of-emergency declaration (that was finally lifted on May 25th) was expanded nationwide on April 16th, the economic impact on people’s lives would be much deeper than originally anticipated. However, administrative bottlenecks have caused widespread delays in the actual dispersement of payments, to the point where national and local officials have had to issue numerous apologies for the ongoing delays.
Nationwide payment rate is 54.5% as of June 17th
The Nikkei newspaper recently published the results of a survey that it did to measure the payout rates for Tokyo’s 23 Wards and 46 major cities across the country to compare the results to the nationwide average, as calculated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The nationwide average payout ratio (the amount that has been transferred to peoples’ bank accounts divided by the amount that has been applied for) is 54.5% as of June 17th. The Nikkei survey found that in the 23 Wards and other cities surveyed, the average payout rate was 35.4%, significantly lower than the national average. The number also suggests that larger municipalities have had more issues in dispersing the handouts.
Here are the highlights of the Nikkei’s survey:
- Cities with smaller populations, such as Matsuyama and Wakayama have payout ratios of higher than 90%.
- A number of major cities with populations of over 1 million people have payout ratios of less than 5%. Notably, Saitama (3.1%), Kyoto (3.1%), and Nagoya (4.8%).
- Yokohama, which is the municipality with highest number of people eligible for a payment in all of Japan, has a payout ratio of 12.1%.
- Shinagawa Ward: 9.9%
Apparently delays are due to the fact that many municipalities have been double and triple checking paperwork in order to avoid mistakes. Social distancing rules have also meant that some cities and wards have not increased the number of staff assigned to work on processing the payments.
The survey asked the 69 municipalities (which includes the 23 Wards of Tokyo and 46 other cities around Japan), when they expect to complete dispersing payments. These were the answers:
- By the end of June: 31.9%
- By the beginning of July: 27.5%
- By the middle of July 16.0%
- By the end of July: 2.9%
- August or later: 11.6%
- Don’t know or no answer: 10.1%
Source: Nikkei newspaper, June 26, 2020 (in Japanese)
Lead photo: Coronavirus special support payment application, stock photo
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