Japan is bracing itself against the economic consequences of the rampant coronavirus with another billion-dollar stimulus package. The government passed measures of one trillion yen to support affected companies on Tuesday. Around half of this is provided in the form of interest-free loans for small and medium-sized companies that lack financial resources as a result of sharp sales losses. In addition, part-time workers who are unable to pursue their jobs as a result of school closings and instead have to look after their children at home are provided with the financial aid of 4100 yen per day, the media reported.
Coronavirus puts Japan in crisis, shakes up the global economy
Just a month ago, the government of right-wing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had put together a first package against the virus crisis, which included low-interest loans of over 500 billion yen for small and medium-sized companies in the tourism industry and other sectors particularly affected by the virus. The virus crisis hits Japan at a time when the world’s third-largest economy is in danger of slipping into recession.
On Tuesday, the cabinet also approved a bill that would give the head of government the power to declare a state of emergency if necessary. Abe had been harshly criticized for not initially taking the novel coronavirus seriously and reacting inadequately to it. Japan, which plans to host the Olympic Games in the summer, has now stepped up the measures. Abe called on Tuesday to cancel large events beyond mid-March to prevent the new pathogen from spreading further. So far, around 1200 infections have been confirmed in Japan, of which around 700 cases are people aboard a cruise ship that has been temporarily quarantined.