Japan to extend jobs subsidy until February 2021
The Japanese government has decided to extend its jobs subsidy programme by two months until the end of Feb 2021, as the country battles a weak employment outlook amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
Due to the escalating situation, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare went back on its decision to scale down the programme in stages until December.
The subsidy scheme covers part of leave allowances firms pay to furloughed workers, which subsidises up to ¥15,000 (US$144) per day. Prior to this, only up to two-thirds of the cost was covered by the government, with an upper limit of ¥8,370 (US$80) per day per worker.
Another subsidy programme that helps employees take leave to care for their children amid school closures due to the pandemic will also be extended until the end of February.
Health minister Norihisa Tamura urged local authorities on Tuesday to strengthen regional medical systems to plan for a worst case scenario as the number of severely ill patients soar nationwide.
The number of patients with serious symptoms rose to a record 472 cases on Monday. Tokyo, the hardest-hit area to date, confirmed 372 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.