TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday that his government will consider providing ¥100,000 in cash per person without setting an income limit, in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
In a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi told Abe that the government should hand out such benefits as an additional measure to shore up the economy hit by the coronavirus spread. Komeito is the junior coalition partner of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Abe replied that such a step will be considered after the enactment of a supplementary budget for fiscal 2020.
After the meeting, Yamaguchi told reporters that the government’s declaration of a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas over the COVID-19 crisis last week has left “an extensive and deep impact” on the society and economy.
The government “should deliver a message of encouragement and solidarity to the people,” he stressed.
He said that he encouraged Abe to make a decision.
“It is my understanding that he accepted (my request) in a positive way,” he added.
For the government’s emergency economic stimulus package adopted recently, Komeito had proposed a cash handout of ¥100,000 per person for those who have suffered an income plunge due to the outbreak.
The government included in the package the distribution of ¥300,000 in cash to households whose incomes have fallen sharply. But the measure drew criticism from both the ruling and opposition parties for its strict eligibility requirements.
On Tuesday, LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai said he will ask the government to consider a cash handout of ¥100,000 per head to those whose incomes stand below a certain level.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]