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Japan to consider cash handouts to students in need

  • May 8, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 6:39 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, May 8 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government will consider cash handouts to university students in need amid the COVID-19 crisis, education minister Koichi Hagiuda said Friday.

 

Hagiuda responded positively to a request from Tetsuo Saito, secretary-general of Komeito, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s coalition partner, that the government pay 100,000 yen per person to some 500,000 undergraduate and graduate students struggling economically.

 

The minister told Saito that he agrees with the request and that the government will consider it swiftly.

 

Accordinto Saito, Hagiuda expects to use the government’s reserve funds to finance the handout program.

 

“It’s urgent,” Saito told reporters after the meeting. “I think it will begin within two or three days, or a week.”

 

Komeito requests that the benefits be given to around 100,000 students of low-income households exempt from the resident tax, another 100,000 students of households with similar income levels and roughly 240,000 middle-income students who pay for their studies and daily expenses with income from their part-time work.

 

Around 50 billion yen is expected to be used for the measure.

 

At a news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the education ministry is considering what assistance can be provided while watching progress in discussions at the ruling camp.

 

Japan last month started an assistance package for students of low-income households, such as entrance and tuition fee cuts or exemption and expansion of scholarships.

 

The assistance is available also to students who have run into economic difficulties amid the spread of the novel coronavirus, as are student assistance loans provided by the government-backed Japan Student Services Organization.

 

In addition, the ministry is asking universities and other schools across Japan to consider tuition payment moratoria.

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