The Japanese government has laid out figures that give a glimpse of the pandemic's impact on employment. In 2020 the labor ministry approved over 2.1 million applications from companies for emergency subsidies to hold on to workers.
The applications were from February to late December as the coronavirus ravaged the economy. The ministry estimates that the subsidies will cost more than 2.5 trillion yen, or over 24 billion dollars.
It says it has secured 3.3 trillion yen for fiscal 2020 for the program.
The main source of the funds is employment insurance premiums shouldered by companies.
But the government is facing the challenge of securing funding to maintain the subsidy system as the pandemic continues.