In the press review of Wednesday, May 26, we will discuss: the government plans to give financial assistance to households in need, scoring errors that lead to sanctions and a birth rate at the lowest in 2020.
Allowance for families in need
The Japanese government plans to implement a new cash distribution program of up to 100,000 yen (750 euros) for households in need, in order to alleviate the financial pressure of the pandemic. As part of the envisaged plan, applicants for the new pandemic assistance program will have to meet conditions such as not having deposits and savings greater than 1 million yen (7,500 euros). The government plans to make monthly payments of 60,000 yen (450 euros) single-person households, from 80,000 yen (675 euros) to households made up of two people and 100,000 yen (750 euros) to households made up of three or more people for three months from July. In addition to affecting 50 billion yen (around 375 million euros) of the initial budget for fiscal year 2021, the government has decided to offer cash allocations of up to 50,000 yen (375 euros) per child to households in need using the reserve funds for fiscal year 2020.
Sanctions after scoring errors
The department’s education council Ibaraki announced on May 25 that 1,159 civil servants, including executives and teachers, had been sanctioned for nearly 1,000 grading errors on exams entry into departmental schools. According to the education council, the grading errors were discovered one after the other after March of this year. No less than 988 grading errors were found in the department’s college and high school entrance exams for the 2020 and 2021 school years, and four applicants were apparently wrongly rejected. The board of education imposed sanctions on 197 employees, including principals of the affected schools, and nine teachers, including pay cuts, for errors that affected candidates’ success in exams. The problem arose after the tutor of a candidate, who had been refused by the high school Ushiku Eishin for the 2021 school year, demanded last March that the school disclose the answer sheets for the exams. Of the four applicants who were mistakenly rejected, three ultimately enrolled in the schools of their choice.
The pandemic affects the birth rate
The number of reported pregnancies in 2020 reached a new all-time high amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to government data released Wednesday. Municipalities across Japan have registered 872,227 pregnancies last year, either a decrease of 4.8% compared to the previous year. Which suggests that the number of children born in 2021 is likely to drop below 800,000 for the first time. Data from the Ministry of Health puts even more pressure on the government which, in addition to tackling a persistently low birth rate, also has to deal with rapid aging of the population. Soaring spending on social security to cover pensions and medical care for the elderly is straining the budget of the world’s third-largest economy. The annual number of newborns plunged below 900,000 for the first time in 2019. This number is expected to decline further for drop below 850,000 in 2021, according to government sources.