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COVID-19 Emergency Aid in Japan

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COVID-19 Emergency Aid in Japan

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the global economy and Japan is no exception, having announced last month that the country had fallen into recession during the first quarter of 2020. The government has laid out several aid packages consisting of both cash grants and loans to give citizens and foreign residents going through financial hardship a helping hand. Here is an overview of what is available.

¥100,000 Stimulus Package

All residents (including foreign residents) with a visa of a minimum of three months and listed on the Basic Resident Register as of April 27th, will be automatically eligible for the handout. You will need to fill out a form that will be posted to you from your local ward or city office. If you have a My Number card with a chip, you can also apply online. For more information, please click here.

Temporary Welfare Loan

For those who are finding it extremely difficult to get by, the government is also offering two types of interest free loans if your income has seen a significant decrease.

An emergency loan of up to ¥200,000 is available and repayable within 2 years. This is mainly for households where earners have been furloughed.

A further loan of up to ¥200,000 per month at a maximum of 3 months (total of ¥600,000), repayable within 10 years is also available. This loan is mostly for those who have lost their jobs.

For more information, please click here.

Housing Benefit

If you are at risk of losing your housing as a result of financial hardship, you can also apply for housing benefit for 3 months (maximum 9 months). You will need to seek permission from your landlord or housing agency before applying.

For more information, please click here.

Subsidies for small-to-medium-sized companies and freelancers

If you own a small to medium sized company, or are a freelancer registered as a sole proprietor, you may be eligible for grants of ¥2 million and ¥1 million respectively. Proof that income has decreased significantly compared to last year and detailed book-keeping is necessary for application.

For more information, please click here (Japanese only).

Kyoto International Community House is reopen as of 02 June and has a special page dedicated to Covid-19 issues here.

Kobe International Center for Cooperation and Communication has also recommenced its in-person and phone consultation services for foreign residents. See details here.

Osaka International House Foundation has recommenced their consultation services for foreign residents. In-person consultations for visa, legal and employment related matters are by appointment and max 30 mins per person. Their first Zoom/telephone consultation event is on 15 July 2020. They have published a guide to claiming the ¥100,000 cash grant here.

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Robert Kodama is a theatre director, writer, and photographer from the UK and currently based in Osaka.

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