Japan lower house passes record extra budget to boost Covid-hit economy

Tokyo, Dec 15 (EFE).- The lower house of the Japanese parliament Wednesday approved a record supplementary budget worth 36 trillion yen ($316 billion) for the current financial year as the biggest stimulus package to boost the economy ravaged by the coronavirus.

The government led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gave the green light to the package to help sustain the recovery of the third-largest economy that suffered from the prolonged fallout of the health crisis by the Covid-19.

The stimulus package is the largest approved by Japan so far.

The extra funds are aimed at strengthening the Japanese healthcare system and reactivating the economy shattered by the virus outbreak.

Some 18.6 trillion yen will be allocated to increase the number of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients and other health resources, while 1.3 trillion yen will be reserved to purchase anti-covid vaccines.

The measure includes 100,000 yen handouts in cash and vouchers to children aged 18 or younger in households with an annual income of fewer than 9.6 million yen. It is to support education expenses.

Part of the funds will support the services sector, the worst affected by the restrictions during the pandemic.

The government also vowed to launch a new subsidy system for oil distribution companies to counteract the recent rise in crude prices.

Some 500,000 million yen from the package will go for investments in strategic economic sectors like semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

Daily new coronavirus infections in Japan have remained low for weeks even as the country decided to close its borders in the wake of the global spread of the omicron variant of the virus.

Much of the supplementary spending for the current fiscal year will be financed by additional government bonds worth some 22 trillion yen. EFE


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