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As Japanese gov't slow-walks stimulus, small businesses fear collapse

67 Comments
By Junko Fujita

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Amazing how the J-Gov. worked quickly and never missed a step in sending out car tax statements. Received my right on schedule. This government is so selfish and corrupt it makes me sick. While I and so many others have resorted to cup a ramen and tap water, I'm sure they are at home eating their nutritious meals!!!

38 ( +39 / -1 )

A promised 110 trillion yen in stimulus is proving too little, too late with no revenue and probably none for the next few months taking too long and not delivering enough to help small businesses pay rent.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

business owners told Reuters of deep frustration at a process they said was taking too long and not delivering enough"

Pathetic J-govt bureaucracy response on display once again...always too late, always behind the curve, bloody hopeless.

Amazing how the J-Gov. worked quickly and never missed a step in sending out car tax statements. Received my right on schedule. This government is so selfish and corrupt it makes me sick"

Spot on.

How many on JT have received the 10 man yen payment or even the stupid Abe masks?

25 ( +26 / -1 )

We all know that Abe and his group were never going to pay out the money they promised. They did and are doing everything they can to make the process slow, and intentionally difficult in the hopes that people would give up. In other countries people have already received one aid amount and are soon getting another. Japan, nothing. But still people think he is doing a good job!

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Absolutely useless! I have no words.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Have not got the Abe masks and we are giving the 10-man each to the in laws who have been really hit hard by this pandemic (kind of like what is described in the article). They are hard working people and are people who are truly deserving of the stimulus - they have worked hard all their lives.

If the bureaucrats in the Japanese government (specifically those in Nagata-cho) really cared about the "people" they would immediately reduce their salaries and overhead. It is obvious to me they do not care at all.

If you go to any town or city in Japan you see very fancy government buildings as well as some pretty impressive NHK buildings while businesses and every day hard working Japanese citizens and residents suffer.

My in laws, described above, who are both Japanese citizens and the types who are very proud of being Japanese are now themselves showing outright disgust at the Japanese government which was really surprising to me (emphasis added).

20 ( +20 / -0 )

In the financial crisis, many banks used their bail out money to do share buybacks - effectively enriching directors and executives whose remuneration includes lots of stock options.

Now, when it’s SMEs and normal people who need bailing out, there’s suddenly a massive wall of bureaucracy and feet dragging. These people don’t want to greedily enrich themselves, they just want their business to survive.

Sure, you could just say ‘tough luck, your business was unable to survive in the current market conditions’ - but then you have to ask why big companies like airlines, for example, are always saved? Yes they are important etc. but why haven’t they built up an emergency cash reserve? So much of their profits are returned to shareholders, and used for buybacks, and executive bonuses etc. How is it right that these companies keep ‘mismanaging’ their profits but always get bailed out in a crisis - while regular Taro lives relatively frugally, and has to jump through so many hoops just to get a sniff of help.

The system is broken.

24 ( +24 / -0 )

@marcelito

Totally agree. J-Gov dragging their feet to avoid making payments. Once the state of emergency is lifted and businesses reopen, the government will no doubt say there won't be a need for any payment/loan.

Of course I haven't received my masks, of course I haven't received 10k payment not even an application form, of course I have received my car tax statement payable within a couple of weeks

J-Gov should be utterly ashamed of themselves and hope that this will be reflected in any upcoming election and these useless tools will be voted out

19 ( +19 / -0 )

@HBJ - very well said. It kind of expands on my post above giving a further explanation as to what goes on. To add even more; my in laws have 2 kids and they are putting one through university now. They did keep a cash reserve (what is considered reasonable based on their income) but it was amazing how fast they started to burn through that with a loss of income, personal expenses to pay, and on top of that their business expenses. Oh - and by the way - their tax bills and utility bills keep coming also (as expected). As you said - they do not want to be rich or live lavishly and just want to live their life.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

I keep saying why hasn't Abe, Aso or any of these other esteemed politicians stepped up and offer to take a pay cut. All the money that is being saved on meetings and travel and other things could also be distributed to people who are really hurting.

Also, read yesterday that it cost an extra 8 million dollars to recheck the famed Abenomask. So just add that to the total of wasted money.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

We have not received the cash hand outs application yet, BUT the Tax payment notice Have Arrived already!

Where is the Governor of Kanagawa? (Yokohama, Kawasaki, Fujisawa, Kamakura and more big cities too within Kanagawa Pref.)

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Some small businesses in my neighborhood initially were closed with notices on their doors citing the coronavirus emergency declaration as reason for doing so. Now several of them (hair salon, cram school, boutique and possibly two restaurants) appear to have closed for good with signage, advertising awnings removed and menus taken down.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Unlike some other countries, such as France, Japan has yet to offer to help small businesses pay rent. Abe has said he would consider such a step.

There a story on here a couple of days ago about rent assistance. In Japanese, it's called 特別家賃支援給付金. I doubt anyone is going to get this money quickly, if possibly even at all, but the government has at least "offered to help small businesses pay rent". It is no longer at the stage of Mr. Abe considering it. If you have a business, google this Japanese to see if you qualify. The conditions are the same as the 持続 assistance.

What businesses need is an end to lockdown. The travel agent in the story may also need flights going again, but that could be a very long time.

10k payment

It's 100k folks! I'll be out with my weed whacker, I don't have a pitchfork, if they try to give me less.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Second MarkX.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan will see its high streets become shuttered and the population lose jobs which will lead to more businesses shut.

The only positive is that the Japanese get to see how inept the governors are!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Unlike some other countries, such as France, Japan has yet to offer to help small businesses pay rent. Abe has said he would consider such a step.

FFS don't consider it, TAKE ACTION already you utterly PATHETIC prime minister! It really grinds my gears to see how useless, uninspiring all these politicians are.

And as for rent, why can't those collecting the rent give some relief to tentants by delaying at least part of the rent until later? Where is the flexibility?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

To get subsidies, applicants must make an appointment for an initial meeting, then another appointment for a guarantee letter. After that, they need a bank appointment to negotiate the terms.

Book Title, How Bureaucrats Broke the World.

An absolute joke. An unprecedented global shutdown and financial catastrophe and Japan of course unable to come up with anything but forcing people to cue for meetings with entities unable to coordinate, streamline or go online. We are witnessing an extinction level event here folks. Darwinism.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Seems to me requiring folk to go down and apply in person and go through red tape, is a good way to dissuade many from even trying.

And another percentage will be denied when they are combing through your details.

My American wife received a check from Donald Trump a week ago!

I am a citizen, have two jobs, and pay double taxes.

Well yesterday I was REQUIRED to pay my annual taxes. It was deducted through my bank account.

LDP! Wheres my damn slice of the pie? You take yours

12 ( +12 / -0 )

How many on JT have received the 10 man yen payment or even the stupid Abe masks?

The only thing I’ve received from the government recently are property and car tax bills for just under ¥300,000.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

This is why right or wrongly Jinc will be open for business next month I bet with some social distancing and hand sanitizers everywhere. They can’t bailout everyone and these firms are not too big to fail..

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The Japanese economy has been built on such tight margins due to high rents and a overly populated Tokyo. It’s been thoroughly exposed here as a substantial amount will fail that are mom and pop traditional businesses. Michelin star restaurants may have enough reserves to survive long term but there will be a huge restructuring of commercial tenants via more essential and innovative businesses.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

[ If Im not censored again], the Japanese Government is not slow walking. They are sleep walking. Its funny, its been reported that when you do ask questions about the Freelance Subsidy NO ONE at the government ever heard of it. But it all over the news everyday. To get anything done, everyone must go to their CityWard Offices and ask questions. Everyone. Show solidarity.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

On the brightside, I see a pretty high chance that the next government wont have Abe in it lol

12 ( +12 / -0 )

People used to say about the danger of population decrease in Japan. But nobody is saying it now. If the Japan's population a lot smaller, the government could have saved them more easily.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I wrote in a post a week or so ago that the government never had any serious plans to pay out this money, that the plan was to promise the money but hope the crises blew over before they had to pay. Oops! On a bright note a DID get my Abenomask yesterday!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

So cutting through the mumble BS, small businesses are screwed, owners just have to deal with it, GOJ gave another lip service, most important thing right now, rush to re-open schools ASAP, phased steps are not important, just make sure the kids can catch up for precious lost time, re-open the malls and shops with no detailed and enforced plan and watch multiple clusters rise all over the country and let’s not forget, we need to work on getting the Olympics back on schedule, everything else will fall into place, we just need to give it time, if people get sick, keep it on the low as much as possible. Flattening the curve? Future testing? Second wave of infections? Mandatory mask wearing? Continued social distancing? Anyone? Well, it all seems like a sane and well thought out plan to me.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@LoremIpsum

And as for rent, why can't those collecting the rent give some relief to tentants by delaying at least part of the rent until later? Where is the flexibility?

Actually in most cases the landlords have a mortgage and they need to repay the loan to the banks. The flexibility in this case would need to come from the banks, who are often among the first to get "bailout" money by the way. I would not really put this on the people collecting the rent. It would need to go to the top.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Big business will survive small business will die.

They need the help, not the big business with plenty of cash saved away.

They need the help now not down the road.

They should be allowed to keep the sales tax they collect for one year.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Yuji Hara, 63, the president of Kaze Travel agency in Tokyo, said the biggest worry was his employees. He has applied for government assistance for his workers, which pays employees 8,330 yen a day. But the money hasn't arrived yet and he borrowed from a state-backed lender to pay salaries.

That taxi company in Tokyo that laid off all of their employees to save business and help employees get a better paying unemployment check played it extremely smart.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

To those hoping for rent reductions or such, just realize that landlords have bills to pay, too. And no, I am not a landlord. I rent my house/English classroom. But I have not, and do expect to, ask for a reduction or such.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As we’re still in the pandemic, the life insurance claims (¥100M) will go through the roof if businesses are allowed to go back to BAU. As it’s a double win-lose (keeping hold of stimulus money AND indirectly preventing claims) by slow walking and wishfully thinking the virus will go away tomorrow that means small businesses fail and their employees losing their jobs.

What an outrage!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tokyo's Chuo Ward says they won't be able to print applications for the 100,000 yen payments until late May....new meaning to the word slow walking...yet my 45,000 car tax bill arrived two weeks ago-- well there goes nearly half of the 100,000 yen!!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Amazing how the J-Gov. worked quickly and never missed a step in sending out car tax statements. Received my right on schedule.

You can add the poll tax demand to that as well. The envelope practically flew itself through the letterbox and onto my breakfast plate.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

To get subsidies, applicants must make an appointment for an initial meeting, then another appointment for a guarantee letter. After that, they need a bank appointment to negotiate the terms.

The Japanese capacity for pettifogging knows no limits. Sure, they generally abide by the rules but almost never by the spirit in which they were intended.

Let's help people, but make the process so onerous and burdensome it defeats the purpose of the law.

Let's say I offer to let you borrow my car for an important occasion. I, however, stipulate that you must first fill it with gas, change the fluids, wash it, replace the battery, put 19" rims on it, and then paint your arrse blue.

Do you still want to borrow my car?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

this government is not sleeping,its dead...just words no action...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I read a lot of people saying that landlords also have loans and mortgages, but the most simple action that banks can take is to allow these people with loans to just add the number of months they can't pay now to the end of the loan. So if you had a 35 year mortgage, then you will pay 35 years and 6 months. It is not rocket science. That way you don't force the customer into bankruptcy and you will get your money back!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've made a concerted effort to avoid large chains in favor of smaller "mom & pop" establishments in recent months. They need all the help they can get.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

My US check came in the mail yesterday. Wife is amazed.

I'm imaging the stack of books, files, folders, and paper sitting on top of FAX machine that's not even plugged in. Maybe I should become a painter in this corona economy.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Sadly, and I understand the frustrations but folks seem to misunderstand a few things here.

The 100,000 yen payments are up to each person's local city office to distribute, people SHOULD be focusing that frustration on them, as the local city officials all over the place, seem to be dragging their feet and not doing their jobs. As government employees their salaries are still coming in, and far too many dont seem to give a shaite about the people they are working for!

(Yeah Abe has been a dick throughout all this too, but now it's not on him)

Yours and my taxes, that's a different story altogether.

Baitch at your local city office folks!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It is not the lockdown that is too blame, but rather the slow and inadequate rates and methods of:

testing for the virus.

enforcing social distancing/isolation/quarantine procedures.

communicating with the public.

giving financial aid to medium and small businesses.
0 ( +1 / -1 )

"The 100,000 yen payments are up to each person's local city office to distribute, people SHOULD be focusing that frustration on them, as the local city officials all over the place, seem to be dragging their feet and not doing their jobs. As government employees their salaries are still coming in, and far too many dont seem to give a shaite about the people they are working for!" Let me preface that I am asking a question and I do not know the answer: are you sure the local governments have the money? I heard from a city official I know that Tokyo is telling cities to first pay out of their pockets and then the central Tokyo government will reimburse them. Of course the central government knows there is no way the vast majority of cities can afford this so the central government can say, "See we helped but it's not our fault." Again, I am asking and do not know.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The 100,000 yen payments are up to each person's local city office to distribute, people SHOULD be focusing that frustration on them, as the local city officials all over the place, seem to be dragging their feet and not doing their jobs. As government employees their salaries are still coming in, and far too many dont seem to give a shaite about the people they are working for!

Shouldnt have involved the local city halls at all....Tax office should have handled it, they sure have a database with everyone,s details, adding an extra layer of local bureaucracy ( thats just as inept as the national one ) is bound to make it more messy and slower. This is 2020 fgs, not 1950, look at how Germany handled it. 3 days.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The longer this pandemic continues the more the case for UBI increases. Logically, if the small businesses collapse and the employees have moved on/health & safety focused/made redundant the ¥100,000 should be made monthly until new employment has been secured. New employment should only be with better conditions in the contract for health care, sick pay, paid holiday. Oh wait a minute this is Asia, those things aren’t standard!

New businesses that are essential/innovative/adaptable should be allowed to bring this economy into 2020 from the 1990s (being generous!).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Abe inc is rotten to the core.

They send out the pension/health ins bill quick enough..

NO dirty masks no ¥100,000 yet..

Abesolutely pathetic!!!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Well, if people have no money or are afraid to spend it....what good will the small business do even if they get money?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree. The Japanese Government sends out the tax and the healthcare bills fast but the ¥100000 ~ NOTHING!

And again, the Freelance Subsidy offer of up to One Million Yen is no where to be found at the City Ward Office. Its been reported that Shinjuku City Ward office has no clue about it and Chuo Ward Office has no idea what Freelance means.

And what happen to the General Union here in Japan? I thought they were full of information for international people?!

Does anyone tell the truth anymore and care about people during this pandemic?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I know it's the Japanese government, so expecting them to use technology is a stretch, but this should be all online applications with direct debit. Enforces social distancing, can be approved without staff and would be much faster.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I guess I should retrain to be a fax repairman

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"The 100,000 yen payments are up to each person's local city office to distribute, people SHOULD be focusing that frustration on them, (they) seem to be dragging their feet and not doing their jobs."

Yubaru is completely 100% correct here on this point. I called my City Office 2 weeks ago to find out if I was eligible for the 10Man stimulus payment; the clerk asked for my details and said; "I will call you back." (At this stage, I imagined that she met with her Kacho to figure out excuses for why I would not be eligible.) After half an hour, the phone rang: "We are very sorry but you do not seem to be eligible due to #%$*..."

Disappointed, I asked if my My Number account was still valid..."I will call you back." One hour later the phone rang again. "We are very sorry but it seems your My Number has been canceled due to &%$#*+..."

Now I am curious to know if my retirement pension has been canceled, too...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yokohama city will send the application forms out at the end of May. (Info available on the city website). Meanwhile, the stupid My Number app is failing to scan the card I've been given, hindering the application process.

This whole thing is a complete farce.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan's unemployment rate was 2.5% in March, a number that could rise to 4% if the downturn continues, Saito said.

How blessed we are being in Japan, low casuality from covid-19, low bankruptcies, low unemployment. Japan presently is the envy of the world the way it has handled this killer virus. Wonders indeed, most countries will accept even a 7.5% unemployment rate as exceptionally good even without a pandemic.

How many countries in the world has given their citizens free mask.

I can't think of any. We are really blessed having Abe as our leader and pray he continues to lead us and show the world how to lead and what good leadership is. Handling of the virus shows that Abe is supposed to be one of the worlds statesmen.

Seems like I got infected after being in close contact with "Alwaysspeaking wisdom"

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I know it's the Japanese government, so expecting them to use technology is a stretch, but this should be all online applications with direct debit. Enforces social distancing, can be approved without staff and would be much faster.

Can confirm, Canada is on its second month of relief payments. Register online, then $2000 per person if they made less than $1000 a month. Program to last until October so far. Less for students and not everyone gets it, but it is paid quickly through debit directly to accounts.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

These people DO know where they live, right? Japan is only known for stellar speed and action when it involves their reputation internationally, or if it's a politician seeking to make him/herself richer and/or pass laws they want that the public does not, in order to avoid debate.

Besides, people like Aso have made similar things clear, and it's clear with the idea they are pushing to make retirement from 75, that they want to wait for the bankruptcies or deaths to avoid paying out.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

My U.S. stimulus arrived today. Does anybody have any idea regarding where to cash an IRS stimulus check in Tokyo?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm a little surprised that US citizens living in Japan were also eligible for the stimulus, but I've heard many people complain that they got a physical check that they now have to try and cash or deposit. Good luck with that. Most banks will take a nice big surcharge to do anything with those babies. And look at that, these were sent overseas and still people got them before those of us living in Japan have gotten anything from this government!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sounds all too familiar. My employer applied too before and during GW and nope got declined 4 times and decided to give up. Revenue has dropped by 70 percent and rent needs to be paid for 3 buildings, salaries need to be paid but somehow doesn't qualify. Next month I will get a fraction of my salary which had already been reduced. It looks like we'll make it through as we'll be back to work from Monday but another extension if numbers spike and the lights go out

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Te politician system has been blamed for a long time from now but Japanese keep voting for the same.

You reap what you sow.

Unable to do transfer or request or send questions all electronically with official systems seems a failure. Even in my country with civil servants being messy and overpaid, you get way more results because most is done automatically.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anthony 55

Citibank

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the UK is giving business a 3 month tax break, how about Japan? I went to pay my tax bill the other day and I was told NOT to pay it for 3 months, but I told them that I was prepared to pay them, yet again I was told to hang onto my money. WT,heck?????? normally they want it now! now I am convinced the world has gone mad.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In Matsudo City,the day before yesterday,a 39-year-old guy who had lost his job and hadn't eaten for days went to the city hall with a knife for immediate payment of the 100K.The 'elites' don't give two figs about the rank and file.I hope the 'normal' Japanese remember how they were treated by their 'masters' come election time.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And look at that, these were sent overseas and still people got them before those of us living in Japan have gotten anything from this government!

Now thats a bit unfair, the J-govt has given us car tax and city tax bills to pay without any delays at all...magic.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I hope the 'normal' Japanese remember how they were treated by their 'masters' come election time.

It never happens.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know it's the Japanese government, so expecting them to use technology is a stretch, but this should be all online applications with direct debit.

Thats exactly how it works if you’ve got My Number.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know it's the Japanese government, so expecting them to use technology is a stretch, but this should be all online applications with direct debit.

Thats exactly how it works if you’ve got My Number.'

Except the allmighty MyNumber app & scanner doesnt seem to be working for tons of people. Additionally, Mainichi news just had an article explaining today that even if you manage to send off your details through My Number app online the rest of the application process is cross checked snd manually completed by the city hall employees. As a result ine might actually have it processed faster by waiting for and sending off the paperwork via mail.....Its just beyond farce, the whole process. Meanwhile Abe masks have been reportedly delivered to ...a drumroll...4 to 5% of recipients as of today. Can Abe & co be anymore inept? Lets see what nuggets tomorrow will bring.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How many countries in the world has given their citizens free mask.

I can't think of any. We are really blessed having Abe as our leader and pray he continues to lead us and show the world how to lead and what good leadership is. Handling of the virus shows that Abe is supposed to be one of the worlds statesmen.

Seems like I got infected after being in close contact with "Alwaysspeaking wisdom"

Lol...post of the week :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What is this absurd talk of having to wait to print paper applications?! Requiring THREE IN-PERSON APPOINTMENTS to apply for small business aid during a pandemic is the height of folly and murderous. Get the applications online and get them online now. At the very least, process them by phone and fax.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It’s just pathetic! I’m not counting on this Abe’s jpy anymore. Japanese government are a bunch of bureaucratic fools!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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