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Elementary school students walk toward their school in Tokyo on Friday. Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato
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Gov't to create fund to subsidize parents during school closure: report

21 Comments

Japan's government plans to create a fund to help companies pay subsidies to workers who need to take days off to look after their children while schools are closed, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday, without citing sources.

The move comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday asked local authorities to shut schools from Monday in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

This means students will be out from Monday at least until the new academic year starts in early April, prompting Japanese parents, along with teachers and businesses, to scramble to find new ways to live and work.

Abe is expected to explain how the government will cope with impact of the closure of schools at a media briefing scheduled for Saturday, the report said.

Japan also aims to pass legislation that would allow local governments to control the usage of public facilities as another measure to prevent the spread of the virus during the ongoing parliament session, the report said.

Infections from the virus in Japan have topped 200, with five deaths - including one on Friday of a man in his 70s. That excludes more than 700 cases and five more deaths from the quarantined cruise liner Diamond Princess, docked in Yokohama.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

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21 Comments
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Why doesn't the government tell companies to do their part and pay for it, rather than putting the cost on the taxpayers? More corporate welfare, paid for by the working man.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Something is really sus.Abe shuts down schools,but it's really only the odd random new case of someone getting it or dying.Hardly the kind of numbers to put people in a panic,is it? So is it not that bad or like I heard today, hospitals are being told not to say if someone with C.V. goes to your hospital.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Mnh, yes. . . . All for the benefit of the population and a successful reelection. But at least better than nada.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Government is trying hard to learn from the recent past and prepare in every way possible. this is a sensible wise move and I hope that other countries follow the idea. It is wise to protect the kids who are the future. Anything will help until the medical scientists can develop an effective vacine and then everyone needs to get it like when the Polio Vacine was given out in the early 1960s. This is for the best and I admire and thank Abe and the rest for doing what they can.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Let the teachers have off too!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Kids are in the lowest risk category and part of the reason for that is that at school they’re exposed to just a handful of contagion prone adults and therefore relatively safe. Now, through PM Abe’s knee jerk reaction shutting down of schools, millions of kids, unless they sit it out at home (unlikely), will perforce be mixing with a whole lot more adults than they otherwise would. Warren Buffett said that when the economic tide goes out, that’s when we find out who’s naked. By the time it’s done, coronavirus will have exposed many of our self appointed betters and their cherished delusions.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Infections from the virus in Japan have topped 200, with five deaths

But let's not forget, the current 234 confirmed cases is based on only 2,209 people being tested so far...

Here are the latest tests vs new cases stats and charts: https://covid19japan.com/

Japan needs to start testing 1000's of people a day (like Korea).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Take the kids to work! Use the empty conference rooms as playrooms. The kids can REALLY see what dad does 14 hours a day.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Interesting! He intends to subsidize the companies. How about the workers? Let’s not forget, over 60% of the workforce are on semi-permanent or part time contracts. It is likely that anybody who must time off to care for their kids will lose their salary for the period. There is a good chance that some may lose their jobs too.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Take the kids to work! Use the empty conference rooms as playrooms. The kids can REALLY see what dad does 14 hours a day.

Hey! There will be salarymen sleeping in those meeting rooms.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Kids are in the lowest risk category and part of the reason for that is that at school they’re exposed to just a handful of contagion prone adults and therefore relatively safe. 

This isn't being done to protect children, but rather to stop schools being the place where the infection is spread and subsequently passed on to genuinely high risk categories, like grandparents.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Money cannot replace a guardian or parent.

Japanese politicians have little idea, it seems...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Money cannot replace a guardian or parent.

Hard to understand that when you've always had money and never been a parent.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lacking in specifics as usual.

No figures, What measures have been put in place to make sure the money is really paid to deserving parents.

How about part timers and temp staff forced to stay home with little or no revenue.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kids are in the lowest risk category and part of the reason for that is that at school they’re exposed to just a handful of contagion prone adults and therefore relatively safe.

Kids may be in the low risk category, but they can carry and transmit the virus. So 30 kids from different homes in a room together for many hours a day increases the chance of transmission. If just one of the kids is carrying the virus from home to school in the morning, there is a high chance of others taking it home after school.

On the other hand, it seems impractical to close all schools. Perhaps better to keep them open, but ask parents not to send their kids to school if possible. Reducing the number of kids in a classroom by half would reduce the transmission risk.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Even if kids are not at high risk they are vectors. I get most/all of my colds from either the Tokyo crammed subway from a sarariman breathing into my ear or whatever virus de-jour that my kids bring home from school.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

60-70% of your "workers" are part-time / hourly workers, does it apply to them as well?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As Gogogo said how about all the part timers?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kids are in the lowest risk category and part of the reason for that is that at school they’re exposed to just a handful of contagion prone adults and therefore relatively safe.

Really like to see some evidence to support your claim.

It stands to reason that while the elderly appear to be most likely to contract severe cases of Covid-19, kids are no more or less likely to be infected by and spread the virus.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Albaleo: “So 30 kids from different homes in a room together for many hours a day increases the chance of transmission. If just one of the kids is carrying the virus from home to school in the morning, there is a high chance of others taking it home after school.”

Unless the authorities also impose a blanket stay at home curfew on these 13 million kids, you don’t need to be Einstein to work out that their exposure to higher risk adults is going to increase exponentially.

Ah-so: “This isn't being done to protect children, but rather to stop schools being the place where the infection is spread and subsequently passed on to genuinely high risk categories, like grandparents.”

It’s only being done at all because Abe has been told that he needs to be seen to be doing something, regardless of the science. Unless a curfew is also imposed, this will simply multiply opportunities for kids to come into contact with an exponentially expanded number of viral adults. Their currently uninfected mums, dads, and grandparents are going to love him for that.

Bruce Chatwin: “Really love to see some evidence”

Your wish is my command.

https://qz.com/1810299/can-kids-get-coronavirus/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan also aims to pass legislation....

Perfect timing to draw laws, in the middle of emergency. I don't think containment strategies of the virus can still be effective in countries with multiple clusters here and there... which is the case of Japan now. Priority should shift to shelter/isolate the persons at greater risk to protect them and to prepare medicines/facitities/staff to care increasing number of patients.

schools being the place where the infection is spread

Your supposition. I don't think it's proven schools are places of greater or lesser spread than shops, companies, transports.Closing just the schools brings what ? It's like closing one window of your house, but letting the others wide open.

and subsequently passed on to genuinely high risk categories, like grandparents.

Most J-grandparents don't live with the grandkids. They are not meeting them on all schooldays, they could easily avoid all the occasionnal meetings for a while. Kid to grandparent contamination was not the main concern. But, when schools close suddenly, many grandparents get to help babysit the children. Also as the usual carers of elderly take time off to babysit their own kids, you can expect the elderly's daughter/daughter-in-law doing the job, visiting, bringing groceries and she'll do it with her kids in tow.

how about all the part timers?

Mr Abe to assistant " -What are part... eto... whatever ? Do they fund my party ? Do they vote ? "

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1 ( +1 / -0 )

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