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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 18 - 24  > Abe reluctant to take measures to relieve performing artists’ economic distress due to corona crisis
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2020 March 18 - 24 [POLITICS]

Abe reluctant to take measures to relieve performing artists’ economic distress due to corona crisis

March 24, 2020

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at a House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting on March 23 rejected a demand from Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira for government measures to help performing artists survive the ongoing corona crisis.

At the Upper House committee meeting, Koike pointed out that actors, musicians, and other freelance performing artists have been driven into financial difficulties after PM Abe announced his decision to require large-scale events to be cancelled or suspended.

Koike referred to the latest survey of the Federation of Music Producers Japan. It shows that in a past few weeks since PM Abe’s announcement at the end of February, the number of cancelled performances reached 1,550, which caused economic losses of at least 45 billion yen. Koike said that a broad range of organizations are in need of financial support from the government.

Koike explained other countries’ measures to reduce the coronavirus impact on the cultural sector. As an example, he cited Norway, where 90 billion Norwegian krone (about 8.5 billion yen) has been budgeted for financial aid to the culture and sports industries. Koike urged the government to draft a bailout package which includes a program to compensate actors, musicians, and other freelance performers for their cancelled work and a measure for financial aid to event organizers. He added that this package should also include a measure to subsidize corona prevention efforts needed to bring art activities back to normal.

PM Abe, however, said that he has no intention to use tax money to relieve those who are struggling with financial hardship due to the cancellation and postponement of art events.

Koike also took up the government plan under which freelance workers who are parents whose children’s elementary schools have been closed can receive 4,100 yen a day in compensation for loss of earnings. He pointed out that this plan covers only five percent of 2.88 million freelance workers in Japan.

Pointing out that the Abe government has promoted freelance work under the name of “diverse work-styles”, Koike said, “Freelance workers have lost a source of income because of the government request to call off large events during the corona crisis. The government should provide financial support to all freelance workers.”

Past related article:
> Unions and organizations for freelance workers call for gov’t financial assistance amid coronavirus crisis [March 13 & 14, 2020]

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