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Japanese PM announces 700-bln-USD additional economic package

(Xinhua)    09:15, December 09, 2020

TOKYO, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday that Japan would compile an additional economic package worth over 700 billion U.S. dollars to mitigate the economic fallout of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"We will maintain employment, keep businesses going, revive the economy and open a path to growth including through green and digital technology," Japan's premier said of the package at a meeting of the government and ruling parties.

The package will be to the tune of 73.6 trillion yen (707 billion U.S. dollars). Officials said the package, the first aimed at combating the pandemic since Suga took office in mid-September, had been crafted to make provisions for hospitals and nursing homes to acquire more beds for COVID-19 patients, and to provide financial aid for struggling businesses that have had no choice but to furlough employees as the COVID-19-related situation deteriorated.

The package also targets boosting subsidies to help local authorities in relation to outlays made to restaurants and bars who complied with requests to shutter operations and shorten working hours.

In addition, the package has earmarked 2 trillion yen (19.20 billion U.S. dollars) to create a fund for firms developing next generation green technologies, as Japan has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

As for digitalization, the package will provide 1 trillion yen (9.60 billion U.S. dollars) to support Suga's vision in this area, the officials said.

The government's "Go To Travel" subsidy campaign, meanwhile, which began in July, will now continue until June next year. The campaign was due to expire at the end of January.

The state-backed travel program has caught flak since its launch for putting more emphasis on encouraging people to travel domestically and help the nation's ailing tourist industry, rather than fighting the pandemic and preventing its further spread.

With two extra budgets already passed this year, Japan's budget for 2020 in total has risen over 160 trillion yen (1.53 trillion U.S. dollars), with a third extra budget waiting in the wings.

The sheer scale of the budget has raised concerns about the nation's fiscal health as public debt here has already topped 1,100 trillion yen (10.56 trillion U.S. dollars), which is more than double the country's gross domestic product and the worst in the industrialized world.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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