Japan to spend around $17 billion to subsidize education: media

Japan’s government will set aside around 2 trillion yen ($17.93 billion) to subsidize education costs and improve elderly care as part of an economic package due early next month, the Asahi newspaper said on Saturday.

The government will earmark 800 billion yen for a new program that will offer free day care for children 3 to 5 years old and free childcare for low-income households with children up to 2 years old from April 2019, the newspaper said.

The government will spend another 800 billion yen to offer free university education and more grants to low-income households that will begin in fiscal 2020, the newspaper said, without citing its sources.

The package will also set aside around 100 billion yen to raise wages for workers at elderly homes and day care centers, the newspaper said. The package is expected to be formally approved on Dec. 8, the newspaper said.

To fund the spending, the government will use 1.7 trillion yen in revenue from an increase in the nationwide sales tax scheduled for October 2019 and an increase in employer contributions, the newspaper said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made increased spending on education and assistance for low-income families a top priority after a big win in lower-house elections last month.

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