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Coronavirus Subsidies and Loan Programs in Japan

In April, the Japanese government implemented a number of measures to help businesses in Japan who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 6 months later, the State of Emergency has long been lifted, and most workers are back in the office, but not only does the threat of outbreak remain, many small and medium sized businesses are struggling to recover financially due to a slide in consumer spending, supply chain problems, Coronavirus restrictions, and other issues.

While the initial wave of subsidy programs offered at federal, prefectural, and local levels has slowly decreased, there are still a number of options for small and medium sized business to take advantage of. Here is a short list of some of the programs still available as of October 1, 2020:

Subsidies

持続化給付金 (Business Subsidy)

Application available until January 15, 2021

Amount:
up to 2,000,000 yen (company);
up to 1,000,000 yen (sole proprietor)

For companies experiencing a decline in sales of 50% or more in any month of 2020 compared to the same month in 2019, this subsidy is available. Additionally, companies that were established in January-March 2020, as well as freelancers working on contracts are now eligible to apply under certain circumstances.

Even if you didn’t meet the eligibility requirements earlier in the year, you still may become eligible later on in 2020.

Rent Subsidies

Application available until January 15, 2021

Amount:
up to 6,000,000 yen (companies);
up to 3,000,000 (sole proprietors)

Companies with a sharp decline in sales between May and December of 2020 may be eligible for this subsidy. For eligible companies and sole proprietors paying office rent, a portion of the monthly rent, times 6 months’ worth, can be received. The portion that can be received depends on the monthly rent amount.

Loans

日本政策融資公庫(JFC loan)

Application still available

Amount: Maximum of 80,000,000 yen

The Japan Finance Corporation (JFC) is offering a special Coronavirus loan for those companies and sole proprietors affected by the pandemic. The interest rate is very low (under 2% for the first 3 years), and 3 years of interest can be refunded under certain conditions. A 5% decline in sales in the most recent month compared to the same month in the previous year is required for eligibility, though there are special conditions for more recently established companies.

Safety Net #4, Safety Net #5

Applications available through December 1, 2020 (#4), January 31, 2021 (#5)

Amount: Maximum of 280,000,000 yen

Similar to the JFC loan, this special loan has a low-interest rate, and the guarantee fees are partially or fully subsidized by your city, depending on which program is applied for. A decline in sales will need to be proven to receive approval to apply, and the loan amount is ultimately provided by a qualifying bank or credit union. You can receive more information from your city or ward office.

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