Japan looking to end Tokyo's state of emergency, eyes fresh $930 billion stimulus

Japan looking to end Tokyo's state of emergency, eyes fresh $930 billion stimulus
  • Clock-gray 07:12
  • calendar-gray 25 May 2020

Japan is looking to lift a state of emergency for Tokyo and remaining areas still facing restrictions while also considering fresh stimulus worth almost $1 trillion to help companies ride out the coronavirus pandemic, Nikkei reported on Monday, APA reports quoting Reuters. 

Social distancing curbs were removed for most of the country on May 14 as new infections fell, but the government had kept Tokyo and four other prefectures under watch. 

The government will seek approval from key advisers for the lifting on Monday. If approved, Japan would have no regions under the state of emergency, which was first instated on April 7. 

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has said the capital would swiftly move into “stage one” of the lifting of curbs if the government ends the state of emergency. That would allow libraries and museums to reopen, and restaurants to stay open until later in the evening. Subsequent stages would see theatres, cinemas and fairgrounds reopen. 

While the world’s third-largest economy has escaped an explosive outbreak with some 17,000 infections and 825 deaths so far, the epidemic has tipped it into a recession and plunged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s popularity to multi-year lows. 

An Asahi newspaper poll conducted at the weekend showed Abe’s support rate at 29% - the lowest since he returned to power in late 2012 - and disapproval at 52%. The results mirrored a Mainichi newspaper survey published on Saturday. 

Abe will hold a news conference at 6 p.m. (0900 GMT), where he is expected to announce the plan to lift the emergency state. 

To support an economy on track for its deepest slump in postwar history, the government is considering fresh stimulus worth 100 trillion yen ($930 billion), mostly comprising financial aid for companies, the Nikkei newspaper said.

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