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Japan spent over 76 T. yen for coronavirus-linked projects

Japan spends billions for measures related to coronavirus in the three years through fiscal 2021. (Shutterstock)
Japan spends billions for measures related to coronavirus in the three years through fiscal 2021. (Shutterstock)
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07 Nov 2022 03:11:42 GMT9
07 Nov 2022 03:11:42 GMT9

Tokyo: Japan spent a total of 76,492.1 billion yen for measures related to the novel coronavirus in the three years through fiscal 2021, a report by the country’s Board of Audit showed Monday.

The total spending made up around 80.9 pct of the 94,492 billion yen earmarked for 1,367 projects identified as being linked to COVID-19.

It is the first time that the full scope of progress in executing coronavirus-related projects has been revealed.

The government spent 15,885.5 billion yen for infection prevention measures, 50,780.7 billion yen for economic and employment measures, 9,437.5 billion yen as extraordinary subsidies for regional revitalization and 388.3 billion yen for international cooperation.

A total of 13,325.4 billion yen in funds set aside for coronavirus-linked projects was carried over to fiscal 2022, while the amount that was unused and not carried over stood at 4,674.4 billion yen.

The special cash handout of 100,000 yen per person by the internal affairs ministry was the costliest project, at 12,772.3 billion yen.

The largest proportion of unused funds was logged by the labor ministry’s subsidy program for employers that allowed their employees to take paid leave to take care of their children during nationwide temporary school closures from late fiscal 2019.

In the program, six people received a total of some 200,000 yen, while 147 million yen was used to outsource reception and call center operations.

The project left 99.9 pct of the 155.6 billion yen allocated for it unused, but this was because there was only half a month between the creation of the scheme and the end of the fiscal year.

In a similar project conducted the following fiscal year, a total of 57.4 billion yen was given as subsidies to employers and others in around 174,300 cases.

A total of 3,446 billion yen in spending for 16 projects, each with expenditures of 10 billion yen or more, was settled between May last year and this April. Of the total, 478.8 billion yen was left unspent by the local governments to which the funds were given, and all of the amount was returned to the state coffers.

The Board of Audit urged each ministry and agency to provide easy-to-comprehend information on the amount spent, carried over and unspent to the public.

Also on Monday, a survey report by the board showed that some 5.5 billion yen was overpaid as subsidies to 32 medical institutions in Tokyo, Hokkaido and seven other prefectures in a program to financially support institutions that secured beds for accepting COVID-19 patients.

Noting that lack of understanding about the subsidy program on the side of medical institutions and insufficient instructions given by prefectural governments and the health ministry were behind the overpayment, the board told the ministry to have the institutions return the money paid in excess to the state coffers.

JIJI Press

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