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Japan small business aid would cover two-thirds rent for 6 months

Ruling party sees plan for virus-hit tenants costing nearly $20bn

A woman wooing visitors for her restaurant at the Ameya Yokocho market wears a protective face mask following an outbreak of COVID-19 in Tokyo in mid-March.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's ruling party is proposing to cover two-thirds of rent for small businesses for up to six months to help them survive a drop in revenue during the coronavirus outbreak.

The subsidy would start next month, with a monthly cap of 500,000 yen ($4,700) for small and mid-size companies and 250,000 yen for mom-and-pop operations, according to a proposal drafted Thursday. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will discuss the plan with coalition partner Komeito on Friday before making a recommendation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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