The Japanese Prime Minister declared a national emergency instead of just seven regions, with a cash package of $ 928 each.
On April 16, Japan expanded the scope of a state of medical emergency nationwide instead of just zoning large cities like before. At the same time, a government official said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will change the draft additional budget to provide financial assistance to the people.
The number of infections increases 2.2 times in a week
Earlier, the government had declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other areas including Osaka, with more than 9,000 cases nationwide and nearly 200 deaths, but other areas had offered to be added. This list is due to concern over the persistent spread of Covid-19.
While the government has not yet implemented a blockade, the state of emergency was launched on April 7, and took effect for a month, allowing the government to force residents at home and businesses to close. At the moment, preventive measures are covering the affected area of about 44% of the Japanese population.
Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said officials were worried about the rapid spread of the virus, with the number of infections having increased 2.2 times in the period between April 7 and April 15. by.
“We are very worried about the possibility that people will travel during the upcoming Golden Week and spread the virus to places where there have not been many cases,” Kato said.
The pressure is heavy
Mr. Abe is under a lot of pressure on disease control, aware that his reaction to the situation is too little, too late, reducing his credit and support for him.
The virus has caused much damage to the world’s third largest economy. Under the recent additional budget plan, the government set aside a 300,000 yen ($ 2,784) cash aid package for every household whose income is assessed to be affected by the pandemic.
An official said the Abe administration would change the plan and move to a 100,000 yen ($ 928) subsidy plan for each citizen.
This change is in response to a growing wave of calls from the ruling and opposition authorities and legislators asking Abe to take bolder measures to help the country overcome the economic impact of pandemic.
The International Monetary Fund expects the Japanese economy to decline 5.2% this year, calling for increased government spending and focusing on fixing the losses.
“In the coming time, the expansionary fiscal policy guarantees to minimize the impact of Covid-19 in the short term and support the economic recovery after the epidemic,” said Odd Per Brekk, Deputy Director of the IMF. Asia and Pacific.
The number of infections is increasing and the closure of businesses is putting pressure on the Japanese economy, which is on the decline.
Bank of Japan predicts there will be an economic slowdown this year and is expected to discuss financial support measures for businesses in the interest rate review on April 27-28.
The additional budget, revised to enact the nearly $ 1 trillion economy stimulus package announced by the Abe administration last week, needs Congressional approval to go into effect.
It is very rare for the Japanese government to make changes to the budget draft, which has been set by the Ministry of Finance after much careful consideration and careful consideration of the different views of politicians.
Any amendment will highlight the challenges Mr. Abe faces in dealing with the economic damage caused by the pandemic without putting too much pressure on the financial situation that is currently in place. piling up Japan’s difficulties.
A Reuters poll found that most Japanese corporations expressed disappointment at the government’s “too little, too late” stimulus package.
Surveys show that Mr. Abe has lost a great deal of support due to his timid and slow response to the outbreak of the epidemic, and by widespread criticism that he has been “deaf” to the degree. seriousness of the crisis in its posts in the mass media.
Abe’s credit rating for the cabinet dropped to 39% in a NHK survey published earlier in the week, down four points, with 75% of those surveyed saying the emergency declaration. His April 7 level is too late.