- A district of Tokyo plans to give any citizen who becomes infected with the coronavirus a check worth almost $US1,000.
- Shinjuku ward in central Tokyo says it will provide 100,000 yen (around $US935) to any citizen in the area who contracts COVID-19, according to Japanese media.
- It is home to one of Tokyo’s biggest entertainment districts and has reported close to 900 cases so far.
- Coronavirus cases in Japan have been increasing steadily in recent days, with Tokyo reporting 200 or more new cases each day for the past four days.
- Some have criticised the scheme, saying it will lead to people deliberately trying to get the virus.
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A district of Japan’s capital city, Tokyo, is offering any citizen who becomes infected with the coronavirus a check worth almost $US1,000 in the latest unusual stimulus effort to battle the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Shinjuku ward in central Tokyo says it will give 100,000 yen (around $US935) to any citizen in the area who contracts COVID-19, according to a report from The Japan Times, the country’s largest English-language newspaper
The ward, one of the city’s hubs for entertainment, food, and drink, has been particularly hard-hit economically by the virus as bars, restaurants, and clubs have been shuttered.
“As people infected with the coronavirus have no choice but to take time off work, their income may decline,” a ward official told the Japan Times.
“Urgent livelihood support is needed.”
According to Japanese national broadcaster NHK, the scheme will be available to anyone who lives in Shinjuku and gets the virus. They will had to of lived there since April 7, when the city introduced a state of emergency.
People wanting to take advantage of the payment will need to send a form to the local authorities, and payments will start in August, NHK added.
As of mid-June, 240 people were eligible for the scheme, the Japan Times said, citing local officials.
Home to over 350,000 people, Shinjuku houses the Kabukicho area – Tokyo’s most famous Red Light district – as well as the city’s biggest train station, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building.
However, the scheme has already faced online criticism, with some suggesting that people could deliberately try to become infected so that they get given the money.
“Please don’t do this. It’s just going to encourage some idiots to get coronavirus on purpose,” one person said on Twitter,Japanese blog Sora News 24 reported.
“This seems like a bad idea. I understand some people have to go out, but for those people who chose to go out for fun and got sick, I think they should take responsibility and pay for their own medical expenses,” another remarked.
Coronavirus cases in Japan have been increasing steadily in recent days, with the densely-populated capital city particularly impacted.
Cases in the city have been steadily increasing since a state of emergency was lifted in late May. Almost 8,000 people have been infected in Tokyo, with 325 deaths. It accounts for more than one-third of all Japan’s 21,000 virus cases.
The coronavirus pandemic has led governments worldwide to come up with increasingly unusual ways to support their citizens economically.
Measures range from the stimulus checks sent directly to US citizens, to large scale government unemployment support, all the way to the UK’s new “Eat out to help out” program, which gives citizens a discount when dining out to encourage economic activity.
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