A package worth almost $1 trillion is being committed by Japan to be used for supporting its economy from the hit of the coronavirus pandemic.
A 108 trillion yen ($989 billion) relief package was announced by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday. The amount is staggering and is equivalent to about 20 per cent of the total yearly output of the third largest economy of the world.
The package includes provision for providing direct cash hand outs worth tens of billions of dollars for those families and businesses that have lost their livelihood and income because of the impact of the viral pandemic. Large tax breaks and zero-interest loans are also included in the package.
Japan now joins a list of countries that have opened up their coffers and offered massive amount of government spending for supporting their local economies and helping households and businesses to manage the sudden hit to their income due to the coronavirus pandemic which has virtually shut down the global economy.
A $2 trillion stimulus bill, the largest emergency aid package in history, was passed recently by the United States. Huge spending plans have also been announced by the governments of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and other major economies.
Such government aid packages coincide with a steady and fast growth of the pandemic across the world. Globally, according to Johns Hopkins University, more than 69,000 people have died because of the pandemic while over 1.27 million people worldwide have been infected by the coronavirus. Japan has reported a total of more than 3,600 confirmed positive cases and 85 deaths.
Tom Learmouth, Japan economist at Capital Economics noted that signs that the Japanese economy was showing signs of resilience as the virus ripped through Asia in February were available from the most recent unemployment, industrial production and retail sales data. But “there is no doubt that coronavirus disruption will deal a severe economic blow over coming months,” he said in a research note on Friday.
He said that major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka are now reporting a spurt in infections and added that there were concerns about a second wave of the pandemic hitting the country have forced the people to stay back home while shops remained closed mostly.
Abe also declared a one month state of emergency in some parts of Japan including the major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka on Tuesday. the prime minister however had not agreed to take such a step as recently as last week.
(Adapted from CNN.com)