Vietnamese expats eligible for Japan’s coronavirus subsidies

By Nguyen Quy   May 5, 2020 | 05:00 am PT
Vietnamese expats eligible for Japan’s coronavirus subsidies
Vietnamese who live in Japan celebrate Vietnamese New Year at a Catholic Church in Kawaguchi, near Tokyo, Japan, February 10, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Issei Kato.
The Japanese government has decided on a coronavirus stimulus handout of 100,000 yen ($937) for all residents, including Vietnamese expats.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the information Monday in a telephone call with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The two leaders affirmed they would continue to care for and ensure the safety of each other's citizens during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Japanese government’s handouts aims to ease difficulties caused by the Covid-19 crisis. Many Vietnamese workers in Japan have become jobless after their company suspended operations, prompting many to request the Vietnamese government to arrange flights to bring them home.

On April 7, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a month-long state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, urging residents to stay home. All business services and entertainment facilities were closed.

Japan has since presented a new economic stimulus package of $1.1 trillion to expand cash payouts to citizens as the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic threatens to push the world’s third-largest economy deeper into recession, Reuters reported.

As of last year, the number of Vietnamese residents in Japan reached almost 412,000, making them the third largest minority group in Japan, just behind China and South Korea, according to official data from Japan's Justice Ministry released earlier this year.

During Monday’s phone call, Phuc thanked the Japanese government for providing Vietnam with more than $1.8 million through international organizations to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. He also announced that Vietnam will support Japan’s fight with another 140,000 antibacterial masks.

In April, Vietnam gifted Japan face masks and medical supplies worth $100,000.

Abe affirmed that Japan will deliver a second aid package to help Vietnam deal with the epidemic and promote economic growth.

Last month, 298 Vietnamese, including students and tourists stranded in Japan, flew home on a Vietnam Airlines flight that landed at the Van Don Airport in the northern Quang Ninh Province. Two students among them were confirmed positive for Covid-19 and are currently being treated at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi.

Vietnam’s tally of infections has remained unchanged at 271 since Sunday evening, with the number of active cases down to 39.

Japan has reported more than 15,000 Covid-19 iinfections and 536 deaths.

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