Tokyo, Dec 11 | Japan’s cabinet on Friday approved an additional emergency spending package worth 385.62 billion yen ($3.70 billion) in reserve funds to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Using an allocation of 311.93 billion yen, the government will extend the “Go To Travel” campaign which was set to end in January for another five months to purportedly bolster the nation’s ailing tourism sector and help boost the broader economy, reports Xinhua news agency.
The move, however, has drawn flak from a number of quarters, with some experts believing the subsidized domestic travel program to be directly responsible for the recent spike in Covid-19 cases to hit the country, particularly in urbanized locations.
The government will also use 73.69 billion yen to provide low-income single parents with more financial support.
A total of 11.5 trillion yen has been set aside in reserve funds under its two extra budgets for fiscal 2020 through next March to focus directly on the downside economic effects caused by the pandemic.
Friday’s development comes after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday said the government has compiled an additional stimulus package worth over $700 billion to tackle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.
Measures will include support for hospitals and nursing homes, as well as financial aid for businesses.
The package ramps up investment in green technologies as Japan tries to shift to a net zero carbon footprint by 2050.
The announcement comes as Japan’s coronavirus caseload and death toll have increased to 174,115 and 2,419, respectively.