Japan approves 31.9-trillion-yen supplement budget amid virus crisis

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet on Wednesday green-lighted a second supplementary budget worth 31.9 trillion yen (296 billion dollars) to help mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The extra budget will help front-line medical staff and small businesses hit hard by closure requests due to the pandemic.

It comes about one month after the enactment of the first extra budget worth 25.69 trillion yen.

Abe’s cabinet aims to have the second extra budget enacted by the parliament before the current session ends on June 17.

The latest extra budget would allow the government to subsidize rent payments for small firms and business owners, covering two-thirds of them for six months, with an upper limit of 6 million yen, Kyodo News reported.

But opposition lawmakers criticized the plan, saying it’s not enough.

The plan is “ineffective, as it does not show an idea of trying to compensate income losses at all,” Yuichiro Tamaki, the leader of the Democratic Party for the People, told reporters.

Through the first extra budget, the government decided to provide 100,000 yen in cash to every resident.

Japan first declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures in early April. A week later, the measure was expanded to the entire country.

By mid-May, the state of emergency had been lifted in many of Japan‘s 47 prefectures.

The state of emergency ended in Tokyo and four other prefectures on Monday – the last remaining regions subject to restrictions – ahead of the scheduled expiry on May 31.