Japan Begins the Process of Distributing Stimulus Checks to Citizens, Starting in Chiba

Kanto Culture Coronavirus 2020.04.29
After being announced in mid-April, the Japanese government's COVID-19 special fixed payment application process has begun in Chiba, outside of Tokyo.

Chiba's Ichikawa City to Begin Sending Money in Mid-May

Just a week after the Japanese government announced plans to send a "special fixed payment" of 100,000 yen to every single resident (national citizens and foreign residents alike) in light of the difficulties caused in Japan by the novel coronavirus outbreak, local governments have begun to take action. From the beginning, the announcement from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications explained that the process would be organized by local governments, leaving the actual logistics of mailing out payment application forms, processing them, and then transferring the payments directly into bank accounts, all to city halls and ward offices across Japan. For more details on how the process will actually work, please check our previous explanation here.

While at the time of the announcement, various sources agreed that things would likely get going in May, it seems the first region to take steps towards a speedy payment process is Ichikawa City. On April 27th, just seven days after the national government made its decision, the local government of the city of Ichikawa (in Chiba Prefecture, which borders Tokyo) created a new page on the city hall website. On top of detailed explanations of the process and what to expect, the page includes access to a downloadable PDF of the official application form. Ichikawa City Hall explains that while most citizens should go through one of the two standard application processes (either applying online with their My Number card, or waiting to receive an application form in the mail) any residents who absolutely need to receive the payment as soon as possible can preemptively download a blank application form and submit it to city hall for expedited processing.
Ichikawa City's official twitter page made a short, clear announcement on the subject on the evening of the 27th:

"The city has begun the application process for the distribution of 100,000 yen payments due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (the special fixed payment). Those who are in dire need of the money as soon as possible are now eligible. We aim to continue procedures for all others in early June. Applications and other details here ⇒ [link] "

How Ichikawa City is Handling the Process

According to various sources including this report from NHK, Ichikawa's plan to provide funds ASAP for its residents who are most desperately in need relies on the city's municipal funds. Instead of waiting to receive financial grants from the national government before starting the distribution process, Ichikawa is moving to use saved municipal funds to provide residents in urgent need with their payments ahead of schedule, before reimbursing the city's funds when the national funds arrive. This means that struggling households whose incomes have dropped due to the COVID-19 will receive this small relief within a matter of weeks, around mid-May, instead of waiting the month or more it might otherwise take. 

We look forward to seeing how Ichikawa's forward-thinking plan works out! Let us know what you think on the Japankuru twitter, instagram, and facebook.

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