Japan to give children under 19 $880 cash handout

Japanese children may soon have smiles on their faces and money in their pockets. As part of a covid-19-related stimulus package, Japan's government is planning to give ¥100,000 ($880) to all children under the age of 19. Around 20 million children, from newborns to 18-year-olds, will receive the one-time payment. The initiative is part of an election pledge from Japan's newly-elected Prime Minister. During campaigning, he vowed to help "people in need," such as part-time workers and families with small children. Officials say the money will be given regardless of the financial status of a child's family. All children in any one family will receive the cash. The plan is expected to cost around ¥2 trillion ($17.6 billion).

The stimulus package is not without its critics. Many people have reservations about splurging so much money when Japan is burdened with so much debt. The country's debt is currently more than twice the size of its economy. Government sources argue the cash is available for the pandemic stimulus because of a surplus of funds from fiscal 2020. Skeptics are questioning the plan's logic. They said most recipients would not be going out to purchase high-cost items, dine in upmarket restaurants or take domestic holidays. It is predicted that much of the money will end up in savings accounts. However, mother of three Yuki Ono welcomed the plan. She said her children would benefit because they will buy new computers.