Ninety six thousand households received government subsidies from April to August to help pay rent amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, local media reported on Thursday.
The figure in the five months was already 2.6 times the fiscal 2010 total of 37,151 following the global financial crisis, Kyodo News reported citing a report provided by the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.
The programme had first targeted workers who had lost their jobs, however, the government relaxed the conditions in April to cover other people whose incomes have fallen as the economy was hit hard by the pandemic.
Up to 53,700 yen (510 dollars) per month can be provided to a single-member household in Tokyo for three months with a possible extension to nine months, Kyodo said.
However, the number of applicants fell sharply from 44,811 in May to 9,379 in August, as a nationwide coronavirus state of emergency that temporarily shut many businesses began to gradually ease.
Japan’s economy shrank a record annualised 28.1 per cent in the April-to-June period.
The third straight quarterly contraction marked the biggest fall since 1980 as the economy was hit hard by the pandemic and a consumption tax increase in 2019.