Japanese government officials debate new cash payments to help poor cope with pandemic: sources
By Yoshifumi Takemoto
TOKYO (Reuters) – JapanThese government and ruling party officials are discussing possible additional cash payments to low-income households to help them cope with the coronavirus pandemic, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.
The potential payout amount has not been set, but government spending is likely to be much lower than a previous package that offered cash distributions of 100,000 yen ($ 940) to all citizens, the citizens said. sources, who were not authorized to speak to the media. and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Previous cash payments cost the government 12.9 trillion yen ($ 120 billion), funded by deficit coverage bonds.
The talks come after some ruling party lawmakers worried about job losses and suicides demanded 100,000 yen cash payments for the poor. They also recommended increased support for childcare and the provision of rice and other staples.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said the government was not considering offering further cash distributions to those in need, as various support measures, including for employment and housing, were already available.
The government and the ruling bloc aim to compile new economic measures once the budget for the next fiscal year is approved by parliament, the sources said.
Finance Minister Taro Aso has so far resisted the new spending, arguing that the government’s immediate goal is to enact the budget and that emergency reserves could be used as needed.
Japan has the heaviest public debt burden in the industrial world, and tax hawks are wary of cash payments, which could turn into savings rather than being spent to stimulate the economy.
($ 1 = 106.6000 yen)
(Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto; writing by Tetsushi Kajimoto; editing by Edwina Gibbs and Kenneth Maxwell)