Tokyo’s restaurants, cafés and shops have all been drastically affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Closures and cutbacks in hospitality, tourism and retail have hit Japan’s students hard as they rely on those industries for part-time work. To support students struggling financially, the Japanese government recently approved cash handouts of up to ¥200,000 per person for Japanese and foreign students.
The new programme will offer ¥100,000 to students whose income from part-time jobs has decreased drastically, and ¥200,000 to those from low-income households that are exempted from residence tax.
In a Japan Times report, Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda announced that the cash handouts will be available to roughly 430,000 students. Japanese and international students studying at Japanese universities, graduate schools, vocational schools, Japanese language schools, technical schools and other institutions are eligible to receive the cash handout.
However, Kyodo News reports that the ministry has since clarified that only the top performing 30 percent of international students – those with the highest grades – are eligible to receive the cash handout. According to Kyodo News, a ministry spokesperson said, ‘we have set a condition to limit the handout to promising talent most likely to contribute to Japan in the future.’
Unlike the ¥100,000 cash handout for each resident in Japan, students do not simply sign up in order to receive the money. The students’ financial situation will first be confirmed by their educational institution and the amount will be paid through the Japan Student Services Organization.
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