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Coronavirus shock exposes Asian governments' addiction to remittances

Money which overseas workers send home has prevented needed reforms

| India
Repatriated overseas Filipino workers arrive at an airport after weeks of quarantine in Pasay City on May 26: they send home more than $35 billion annually.   © Reuters

William Pesek is an award-winning Tokyo-based journalist and author of "Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan's Lost Decades."

In the past 20 years, there has been an explosion of economic growth in Asia driven by remittances, the cash workers abroad send home. From Manila to New Delhi, officials have come to rely on millions of people working abroad to send money back to their families. It is a key source of hard currency to plug holes in government balance sheets and drive domestic consumption.

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