Japan Cabinet OKs record stimulus package to fix economy

Japan's Cabinet approved on Friday a record 56 trillion yen ($490 billion) stimulus package, including cash handouts and aid to ailing businesses, to help the economy out of the doldrums worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The package has more than enough content and scale to deliver a sense of security and hope to the people,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters in announcing the plan earlier in the day.

The proposal won Cabinet approval in the evening, according to the prime minister’s office. It still needs parliamentary approval. Kishida has promised speedy action, and parliament will convene next month, he said.

The plan includes doling out 100,000 yen ($880) each in monetary assistance to those 18 years or younger, and aid for businesses whose sales plummeted because of coronavirus measures.

Japan has never had a full lockdown during the pandemic and infections remained relatively low, with deaths related to COVID-19 at about 18,000 people.

Under the government’s “state of emergency,” some restaurants closed or limited their hours, and events and theaters restricted crowd sizes for social distancing. Apart from that, shortage of computer chips and other auto parts produced in other Asian nations that had severe outbreaks and strict lockdowns has hurt production at Japan’s automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp., an economic mainstay.