$1.83 million in COVID business grants returned to Osaka Pref. after companies disobey rules

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The seat of Osaka Prefectural Government (Mainichi/Yumi Shibamura)

OSAKA – Some 240 million yen (about $1.83 million) has been paid to businesses in Osaka Prefecture to comply with the prefectural government’s request to shorten business hours as a COVID prevention measure -19 was returned after it was discovered that not all grant recipients were following the rules.

The Osaka prefectural government had asked restaurants and bars to close their stores earlier than usual between January and October 2021 as part of the prefecture’s infection prevention measures. The head of the prefectural government’s commerce, industry and labor department, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, told a prefectural assembly meeting on May 31 that there were 146 cases in which companies receiving subsidies cooperation had not complied with activity restriction requests, in response to a question raised by Liberal Democratic Party MK Norifumi Shiokawa. The discovery of non-compliant grant recipients was apparently the result of whistleblowers by local residents.

According to the prefectural government’s cooperation subsidy promotion office, some restaurants voluntarily returned the money after learning that they were also paid from separate subsidy systems set up by the central and prefectural governments respectively.

Many other restaurants have also been questioned whether they are actually following the opening hours request according to advice from residents, and the amount returned to the prefecture could reach billions of yen.

Assemblyman Shiokawa called on the prefectural government to firmly handle cases of non-compliance and strive to get these companies to refund subsidy payments, pointing out that cooperation subsidies come from money. taxpayers.

(Japanese original by Masaki Ishikawa, Osaka City News Department)

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