Japan eyes lower Go To Travel payments if program restarts

The Japanese government is considering reducing the maximum amount of assistance if it resumes its Go To Travel tourism promotion program, sources told Jiji Press on Sunday.

The program provides up to ¥20,000 in aid per person per night of stay.

Several options are under consideration. One of them is to reduce the amount to ¥10,000 first before cutting it further in stages, the sources said.

Another calls for slashing the sum to ¥5,000 while extending the program until autumn this year or the end of the year beyond the current expiration at the end of June, they said.

The Go To Travel program received about ¥1 trillion in funding under the government’s fiscal 2020 third supplementary budget. But the program has been put on hold since December due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

The government is considering whether to resume the program as new COVID-19 cases have been decreasing since it declared a state of emergency over the pandemic for parts of the country in January.

A group of experts who advise the government on a response to the pandemic is expected to discuss the advisability of resuming the program at a meeting as early as this month.

A plan under consideration would initially make only trips within prefectural borders eligible for the aid as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the sources said.

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