The Japanese government plans to create a new subsidy system for households which have been financially affected by the ongoing COVID pandemic.
As proposed by the Komeito Party, the government would provide a maximum of ¥300,000 ($2,760USD) per qualifying household, with about 200,000 people throughout the country expected to receive a subsidy.
The subsidy would amount to ¥60,000 for a single person, ¥80,000 yen for a two-person household, and ¥100,000 yen for a household of three people or more.
If the plan is approved, these subsidies are slated to start in July for a period of three months. As people continue to be affected financially by the COVID pandemic, this subsidy is meant to provide additional short-term support for the neediest households.
Many people have exhausted existing support measures, such as Comprehensive Support Funds (sogo shien shikin,総合支援資金), Emergency Small-Lot Funds (sogo shien shikin kinkyū koguchi shikin,緊急小口資金), and temporary loan emergency funds allocated by local Social Welfare Councils. The government has already extended over one million emergency loans to households since the beginning of the pandemic.
These are needs-based social welfare benefits meant to help households which are having difficulty meeting their basic living expenses. Foreign residents of Japan are also eligible to apply for these funds.
The new subsidy is also needs based and is meant to help people cover short-term living expenses, especially those who have lost their jobs or have had a reduction in working hours.
A three-person family living in the Tokyo 23 Wards, for example, would qualify if they have a household income of ¥241,000 or less per month and savings and deposits of ¥1 million ($9,194 USD) or less. Households that own their own home are also eligible to apply if they meet the income and asset requirements. However, households already covered by the Livelihood Protection System (seikatu hogo seido, 生活保護制度) are not eligible.
This story will be updated as more details on qualification and application requirements for the subsidy become available.
- Nikkei newspaper, May 25, 2021 (in Japanese)
- Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, 生活福祉資金の特例貸付 (Living Support Welfare Funds — Special Loans) FAQs (in Japanese)
- Guidance on Temporary Loans Emergency Funds (English)
Lead photo: Rainy day in Shinjuku, iStock 1150228636