All the Available Financial and Other Support in Japan during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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  • As we all battle a virus that’s everyone’s problem, we are also learning for the first time or remembering all the safety nets we have prepared for each other as a society. Whether the misfortunes are personal and acute, or widespread and unavoidable like in this pandemic, there are many benefits and help we can use to keep us afloat. On top of the usual systems in place, there are coronavirus pandemic related additions or increase in some usual fees to help anyone struggling financially right now.

    Here are all the ways the government or private entities in Japan offer support during this pandemic (as of May 19th 2020)

    1) 100,000 yen universal payment as coronavirus pandemic support

    In Japan, the government will distribute a flat (as of now, one time payment) of ¥100,000 ($930) per person. For more detail, please refer to this article.

    2) Additional child allowance

    Normally, the government distributes child allowance to persons who are registered as residents in Japan and are raising children under 15. Due to the pandemic, the government will increase the existing amount by adding 10,000 yen to it. For more details about child allowance and who’s eligible, take a look here:’%E5%85%90%E7%AB%A5%E6%89%8B%E5%BD%93+%E8%8B%B1%E8%AA%9E’

    3) Financial support for freelancers during elementary school’s closure

    If you are a freelancer in Japan, you can receive 4,100 yen per day for the days you couldn’t work because you had to take care of your children.

    Target period: April 1 to June 30, 2020 (during the closure of the schools)
    Application period: April 15 to September 30

    For more details, look at the Ministry’s guidelines (in Japanese)

    4) Financial support for freelancers to compensate their loss or decrease of income (Jizokuka kyufukin – a benefit for a sustainable business)

    If you run a small business, or you are a freelancer in Japan, you can ask for up to 1,000,000 yen to compensate for a financial loss (if you have been losing gigs and clients). If you have been running your business for more than 1 year, you have an intention to keep doing it, and your monthly income decreases more than 50% compared to the one you had in the previous year, you might be eligible for this benefit. You can only apply onlineand you need to prepare your income tax return documents in Fiscal Year 2019.

    For making an estimate of how much you can get, this website might be helpful (not public website though).【Helpcenter】

    NOTE that there are some hurdles in the eligibility. Currently:
    (1) your income MUST be business income on your tax return, not salary or miscellaneous income (though there are people fighting and getting petitions started to get a new system so those not covered can get support)
    (2) you must report your income with a sales ledger, no other forms of reporting are being accepted.

    5) Emergency loans

    If you have suffered an income decrease and need financial support, you can borrow up to 100,000 yen with no interest rates. If you are a parent and need to take care of children during school closure, you can borrow up to 200,000 yen.
    If you have lost your job, you can borrow up to 150,000 yen. If you have a family, 200,000 yen per month is the limit.

    These loans will be given with no interest for 3 months

    Contact: Council of Social Welfare in your city (in Japanese)

    6) Housing security support

    If you lost your job or your income decreased severely, the government will support your rent for 3 months as a rule of thumb (up to 9 months at the longest). The amount depends on your income and savings situation.

    example) If you live in Tokyo urban area
    ・If you are a family of 2 people, with 194,000 yen income, your savings are less than 780,000 yen, the government support for rent will be up to 64,000 yen per month.
    ・If you live alone, with 137,700 yen income, your savings are less than 504,000 yen, then you can get up to 53,700 yen.

    The application method for this financial support depends on your city or municipality, so need to confirm with your nearest social support organization.

    Contact:Social support organization’%E8%87%AA%E7%AB%8B%E7%9B%B8%E8%AB%87%E6%94%AF%E6%8F%B4%E6%A9%9F%E9%96%A2′

    7) Sick pay

    If you suffer from injury or illness and need to take a leave from work, your company will support your income during your absence (excluding the first 3 days of your absence). The period is 1 and a half year at the longest.

    Contact: Your company’s health insurance association (Refer to your health insurance card)

    8) Leave compensation

    If you are asked to take a leave by your company, the company needs to pay at least 60% of your salary. Whether the coronavirus related leave can be eligible for this leave compensation depends on your company as of now.
    But in this difficult time, there are government subsidies for employment adjustment. Meaning, if your company compensates your income during your COVID-19 pandemic-related leave, the government will subsidize 15,000 yen per day* per employee. So, the company is not losing money by paying you your salary. There is actually a case that the employees ask their company to apply for these government subsidies and win the leave compensation.
    *The amount is still under discussion

    Contact: Your company’s HR staff, or a labor union

    9) Unemployment insurance

    The koyou hoken benefit — also known as shitsugyou hoken (失業保険) — will be paid for those who recently lost their job in Japan and are yet to find a new one. In order to claim for this insurance, you need to go to Hello Work run by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

    Contact: Your nearest Hello Work

    10) Life line fee

    ・ Electricity and gas bills
    If you are under the support of “Emergency loans” written in 4), you can ask for 1 month extension of paying the bills

    Contact:Electric and gas company with your contract

    ・Telephone charges
    The Big 3 (NTT, KDDI and Softbank) declared that they will allow extension of payment.
    Contact:Each mobile company

    ・Water bills
    It depends on the city. If you live in Tokyo or Yokohama, there is an extension of the payment deadline up to 4 months at the longest.
    Contact:Your city’s water supply office

    ・ NHK licence fee
    You can consult with the NHK for the postponement of paying the NHK license fee.

    Contact: NHK

    11) Public Assistance Act (Seikatsu-Hogo)

    This is the final safety net for those who are in a difficult financial situation. If your income falls below the threshold of minimum living cost, then the government will compensate your living cost.

    Contact: Your city’s Welfare office

    12) Tuition fee exemption

    If you are a tax-exempt household, you can ask for tuition fee exemption for University, Junior college, a technical junior college, a technical school, local high school, or a private school.

    Contact: Board of education or your school

    13) Emergency Accommodation support (in Tokyo)

    If you have no home and stay overnight at an internet cafe or Manga cafe, TOKYO challenge net will support your accommodation, job-hunting, loan etc.

    0120-874-225 03-5155-9501

    14) Private support

    Apamanshop, one of Japan’s real estate companies, offers a free-rent service till December 2020. The area ranges from Hokkaido, Miyagi, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Aichi, Shizuoka, Osaka, Yamaguchi, Ehime, Fukuoka, Kumamoto and Kagoshima.


    15) Additional support for students

    On May 19, the cabinet decided to distribute 100,000 yen to students living in Japan to help with their financial struggles. In addition to already not making much, many students are now forced to cut back on their part-time jobs during the corona pandemic.
    If the students are with low-income exempt from residence tax, additional 100,000 yen (so, 200,000 yen in total) will be paid. The eligible students are enrolled in a university, both graduate and undergraduate level, as well as students at junior, technical colleges and also those who are studying at Japanese language schools.

    The application process will go through the schools. The students first apply to their schools and the schools will apply to Japan Student Services Organization. As this is a recent decision, more details might come up later.

    UPDATE: The government also declared this student support will be only for top 30% of foreign students, and not for all as is the case for Japanese students.
    Foreign students are currently gathering signatures for an online petition to change that.

    *Featured Image from AC photo
    : AC photo/