Japan announces $2.5B aid package in effort to fight COVID-19

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday announced a 270 billion yen ($2.5 billion) emergency economic package to help fight the coronavirus as he sought the public’s support for his government’s fight against the outbreak.

Abe said at a news conference that Japan is at critical juncture to determine whether the country can keep the outbreak under control ahead of the Tokyo summer Olympics.

Abe, whose announcement this past week of a plan to close all schools for more than a month through the end of the Japanese academic year sparked public criticism, said the emergency package includes financial support for parents and their employers affected by the school closures.

He said that much about COVID-19 — the disease caused by the new virus — is still unknown, and that “fighting against an unknown and unclear enemy is not easy.”

“Frankly speaking, this battle cannot be won solely by the efforts of the government,” Abe said. “We cannot do it without understanding and co-operation from every one of you, including medical institutions, families, companies and local governments.”

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