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Foreigners finally assured stimulus cash from Japan government

By Mark Weitzman     Dec 22, 2008 in World
The Japan government has revised its original plan that barred cash handouts to some foreigners, now allowing foreign residents to receive money. Though the government has announced the plan, legislators are still deliberating on budget appropriations.
All Japanese citizens, and two million foreigners will be eligible to receive JPY 12,000 each. In addition to all Japanese citizens, the government's first plan permitted payments only to foreign residents holding "permanent-resident" visas, and foreigners married to Japanese nationals and holding "spouse" visas. The revised plan excludes only foreign tourists and illegal aliens. The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said two million foreigners will be eligible.
At Debito.org, a Japan-based English-language blog dealing with discrimination and social activism, foreigners posted reactions to the exclusionary plan version.
"Shame on the government for once again drawing a line between the privileged foreigners who’ll get their money and the underclass who won’t (but have to subsidize those who do by paying taxes)," one commenter wrote.
About the revised plan, another person wrote "Hooray for the Japanese government! It looks like this “stimulus” is now even more inclusive than that of the US, where, regardless of nationality, you must have taxable income exceeding the value of the stimulus. Here they’re handing money even to people who don’t work."
At the Japan Today website, comments were generally about the amount of the cash. "If the government is passing out money, I'll take my share. Still, I don't think it's stingy as much as I think it's just retarded. Especially considering the same government says it'll need to double the consumption tax to cover increased expenses in the very near future," wrote one contributor.
Of all people eligible for the cash handouts, those age 18 and under and those age 65 and older will each receive an additional JPY 8,000 yen .
Local government offices will distribute the money. Including foreigners, over 129 million people will be eligible for the government money.
The government plans to distribute the cash in February or March 2009. The economic stimulus plan can proceed following passage in the Diet of additional budget measures. The national government plan also hinges on whether local governments pass measures to cover costs of administering the payments.
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