Tokyo, May 7 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday came up with a rent relief program for small businesses and self-employed people whose sales have slumped due to the coronavirus crisis.
Under the program, the government will provide financial aid equal to two-thirds of rents for half a year.
The LDP will propose the program to the government on Friday, after discussions with its coalition partner, Komeito.
Eligible for the relief will be small businesses and self-employed people whose monthly sales halved from a year before, or whose average sales in three months dropped 30 pct.
The government will shoulder two-thirds of rents paid using zero-interest unsecured loans. The maximum amount of the aid per month will be 500,000 yen for small businesses and 250,000 yen for self-employed people.
LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida told a party meeting that the “hybrid” scheme involving loans and subsidies will help ease anxieties about rents.
Nearly 2 trillion yen may be needed for the program, Kishida said on television. The LDP is considering options including using the 1.5-trillion-yen reserves set aside in the government’s fiscal 2020 supplementary budget and earmarking necessary funds under another supplementary budget.
Opposition parties have already submitted a bill on a rent relief program of their own to parliament. It calls on a state lender to pay rents on behalf of small businesses and self-employed people whose sales have dropped 20 pct or more to give a rent break for about a year.