EDITORIAL: Strict COVID-19 measures wanted to restart Go To Journey program


There’s a rising refrain calling for an early resumption of the federal government’s Go To Journey marketing campaign throughout the tourism trade, which has been devastated by the extended novel coronavirus pandemic.

Regardless of the clamoring, the federal government plans to not restart this system, which has been suspended for the reason that finish of final 12 months, a minimum of till mid-January.

The federal government’s draft financial measures, which had been offered to the ruling Liberal Democratic Celebration, solely stated preparations will probably be made for reopening the subsidy program, with out mentioning any date.

We perceive the necessity to present coverage help to the tourism trade. However the authorities mustn’t overlook that new COVID-19 instances surged final autumn when this system was in place.

Specialists are divided on whether or not and the way the marketing campaign contributes to the unfold of the coronavirus. However the authorities’s plan to take care of the pandemic ought to be based mostly on a worst-case state of affairs.

The fact argues towards implementing this system in the course of the year-end and New 12 months holidays since there are considerations a few sixth wave of infections in winter.

Even earlier than the marketing campaign is resumed, the so-called “kenmin wari” applications provided independently by prefectural governments, below which half of journey bills or as much as 5,000 yen ($43.86) are backed, are anticipated to be expanded to cowl locations in neighboring prefectures.

If the COVID-19 state of affairs stays below management till the top of winter, whereas progress is made in enhancing the well being care system’s skill to take care of sufferers and within the availability of remedies, resuming this system will change into a viable coverage choice.

The query is whether or not the federal government can work out efficient measures to forestall the unfold of the coronavirus.

The federal government says vacationers utilizing this system will probably be required to point out a vaccination or a detrimental check certificates as a part of efforts to forestall infections. However the plan should require a swift suspension of this system as soon as indicators of spikes in new instances emerge.

The federal government was sluggish to droop the marketing campaign final winter regardless of a resurgence of instances.

To keep away from making the identical mistake, the federal government wants to clarify prematurely the factors for taking the step and the division of duties between the central and native governments with regard to such selections.

In any other case, the general public will stay cautious about this system. Policymakers ought to hold this in thoughts.

It’s also essential to take steps to forestall extreme congestion.

Underneath the plan on the desk, the coupons that vacationers can use in areas the place they keep may have mounted values of three,000 yen for weekdays and 1,000 yen for holidays. Beforehand, the coupons had been designed to cowl 15 p.c of journey bills or as much as 6,000 yen.

Nevertheless, the speed of low cost on journey bills will probably be mounted at 30 p.c for each weekdays and holidays.

The federal government wants to think about fastidiously whether or not the plan will assist flatten out demand over weekdays and holidays.

It’s obligatory for the federal government to work with journey brokers to find out how a lot variations are wanted between subsidies for weekdays and for holidays for the strategy to be efficient.

The typical ratio of paid days off truly taken in Japan is decrease than in lots of different international locations.

If the Go To Journey program conjures up Japanese company staff to take extra of their entitled paid days off, that would scale back the heavy dependence of the tourism trade on demand concentrated round holidays.

Extreme reductions that increase touring might find yourself inflicting a pointy decline in demand for journey after this system ends.

It might additionally create a way of unfairness amongst individuals who can not take journeys attributable to causes associated to their jobs or monetary conditions.

There’s nonetheless time for preparations till this system is resumed. The federal government wants to make use of the time to handle doable points with this system whereas consulting with consultants.

–The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 19

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