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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cash Handout in Japan

定額給付金

The application form arrived from Tokyo.

After we complete the applications, return them to the government, and the payments are processed, my family will be 44,000 yen ($440) richer.

20,000 for my wife, who is Japanese. 12,000 for for my dual national elementary school age child. 12,000 for me, a US national with permanent resident status in Japan.

It has been called the most expensive electoral bribe in history. The applications for the 2 trillion yen ($2 billion) cash handout to all Japanese citizens - and foreigners with permanent residency - have been mailed out and are starting to arrive in mail boxes.

Prime Minister Taro Aso and his ruling Liberal Democrats (LDP) came up with the idea for the stimulus package last fall.

It has been derided however by opposition parties and local governors as meaningless. One forecast estimates that the ploy will increase domestic consumption by just 0.1 per cent.

All citizens are eligible - infants, criminals, and the very wealthy like Mr. Aso - to receive the cash.

That the payment is taking place just before a general election is also suspect in the eyes of its opponents.

The kanji for the payout is the very official sounding 定額給付金 (teigaku kyufu kin).

That literally means "fixed amount payment."

And on that note we are off to spend our payment and boost the Japanese economy!

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