Japan's Cabinet has approved an economic package to help those affected by the pandemic and revitalize the country's economy. The public expenditure worth about 480 billion dollars is the largest ever.
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said, "We'll implement these economic measures quickly to rebuild the economy damaged by the pandemic. We'll promote the resumption of socioeconomic activities and get the economy on a growth track as soon as possible."
The top priority is dealing with the coronavirus. The government aims to bolster the medical system so it can deal with a situation where the virus is twice as infectious.
Support for households includes a one-time handout worth about 900 dollars to those aged 18 or younger.
Businesses whose sales plummeted because of the pandemic will also be able to receive financial aid.
Oil wholesalers will get subsidies to offset the high cost of crude. The measure is aimed at keeping the price of gas and other oil products from soaring.
The tourism industry is also in line for subsidies again.
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Saito Tetsuo said he hopes to resume the nationwide Go-To travel campaign after studying the infection situation during the New Year's holidays.
Other measures are aimed at ensuring economic growth and security. An 88-billion-dollar fund will be created to raise the level of research at colleges and universities.
Another will support domestic production of semiconductors.
Meanwhile, the number of new infections remains low in Japan. Authorities confirmed 159 cases on Friday. No deaths were reported.