Tokyo, Aug. 25 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s agriculture ministry said Tuesday that 35 entities, including major travel agency JTB Corp., have been selected to issue discount meal coupons as part of the government’s “Go To Eat” campaign supporting eateries hit hard by the novel coronavirus crisis.
Coupons giving users discounts of 25 pct on food and drink purchases will be available for local use from September in 33 prefectures, including Osaka in western Japan and Aichi in central Japan.
The meal coupons will be issued mainly in each participating prefecture. In the first round of applications for contractors for the initiative, many partnerships between regional chambers of commerce and private companies, such as JTB and Nippon Travel Agency Co., were selected to issue the coupons.
Applicants from 14 prefectures, including Tokyo, Hokkaido in northernmost Japan and Okinawa in southernmost Japan, were not selected in the first round, but the ministry plans to invite the second round of applications as early as next month.
In addition to the meal coupon scheme, the campaign will also give reward points worth up to 1,000 yen per head to customers who eat at restaurants booked online.
For this part of the campaign, the ministry selected 13 entities, including the operators of the restaurant search and booking websites Gurunavi and Tabelog, to provide the service. The start date for the project is undecided, due to fears of users traveling to different prefectures to use the reward points.
The ministry will conduct hearings from municipalities on the state of the epidemic and seek advice from the government subcommittee on its coronavirus response before launching the campaign.
Meanwhile, the industry ministry will delay the process of selecting entities that take on back-office work for other Go To campaigns aimed at supporting shopping districts and public events, officials said. The ministry had initially hoped to hold the selection process later this month.
“It’s important to thoroughly screen applicants and find the best entities, instead of putting the deadline first,” industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said Tuesday.
Under the campaigns, up to 3 million yen will be given as aid for events designed to attract customers hosted by regional shopping districts. In addition, the government will subsidize 20 pct discounts on tickets for music and sports events.
The cautious stance in selecting contractors comes as the government subcommittee determined that the period for imposing restrictions on the number of participants at large-scale events should be extended until the end of September.