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Japan to use ¥60 billion to extend “Go To Eat” campaign

The Japanese government will spend some ¥60 billion ($527 million) on a range of measures to support eating establishments hit hard by the novel coronavirus crisis, including an extension of its “Go To Eat” campaign.

The costs, to be earmarked under a planned fiscal 2021 supplementary budget, will also be used to support coronavirus measures at restaurants, bars and other dining establishments, informed sources said.

Including the outlay, the government plans to set aside almost ¥900 billion for farm, forestry and fisheries initiatives under the extra budget.

According to the agriculture ministry, there are large regional differences in the implementation of the Go To Eat programs due to varying local infection rates. The programs have already ended in 12 prefectures.

Meanwhile, the programs are set to end at the end of December at the latest in 28 prefectures that are currently implementing them, while seven prefectures are suspending them due to resurgence of COVID-19.

Against this background, the government included a plan to extend the campaign in a new stimulus package adopted during an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday.

As the campaign may continue beyond the end of the current fiscal year ending March 2022, the government will secure the necessary funds in advance, the sources said.

Among other support measures, the government will provide subsidies to businesses that will begin takeout food services to maintain their sales amid growing demand from people staying at home during the pandemic.

The government will also increase funds for a debt guarantee system created by the Japan Food Service Association to help midsize restaurant operators procure financing smoothly.

The restaurant industry has struggled significantly in the pandemic, so the government aims to launch the measures as soon as possible in order to realize an economic recovery, sources said.

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