Business & Economy

Japan to spend $15 billion on inflation relief measures

Tokyo, Mar 22 (EFE).- The Japanese government on Wednesday approved a fresh aid package worth 2 trillion yen (over $15 billion) as part of measures to mitigate the effects of high inflation, such as cash relief to low-income families and subsidies on gas and electricity bills.

The aid, financed by the budget reserve funds for the ongoing financial year ending in March, comes in the wake of a series of aid measures worth billions of dollars issued by the government over the past year to reduce the impact of global price rise on the world’s third largest economy.

Chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said during a cabinet meeting that the government wanted to respond swiftly to changing prices and other economic developments to “protect people’s livelihoods and businesses,” according to local media reports.

The meeting subsequently approved the relief package.

As part of the package, low-income families will receive cash handouts of 30,000 yen, along with another 50,000 yen for each child, as part of the latest direct cash transfer scheme.

Another major initiative consists of subsidies to producers and distributors of oil and oil-based fuels and natural gas, aimed at reducing the energy bills for consumers and companies.

Japan has been providing aid to the energy sector since the last year, when global fuel prices began to surge due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, preventing a hike in gas tariffs equivalent to other major economies, although this has resulted in a massive hike in public spending.

Despite these measures, inflation in the country has risen in recent months to reach 4.2 percent in January, the highest in four decades.

The price rise is mainly driven by the rising costs of raw material and energy – a sector in which Japan is highly dependent on imports – with an even greater impact felt domestically due to a weakening yen. EFE


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