Japan Govt Mulling Additional Aid for JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 23 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government is set to offer additional financial assistance to Hokkaido Railway Co., or JR Hokkaido, and Shikoku Railway Co., or JR Shikoku, which have both seen their net losses expand amid the novel coronavirus crisis, it was learned Wednesday.

The government will continue its existing support programs for the two firms, which are slated to end in fiscal 2020 through next March, into fiscal 2021 and later, informed sources said. Fresh investment is also being studied to help improve their financial standings, according to the sources.

Relevant legislation will be submitted to next year's regular session of the Diet, the country's parliament, slated to start in January, the sources said.

The state decided the additional support in view of the railway operators' efforts to shore up their earnings and their roles as key regional transport infrastructure. JR Hokkaido serves the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido. JR Shikoku's service area is the western region of Shikoku.

Under the ongoing programs, the government is set to provide JR Hokkaido, which has been in financial dire straits, with a total of 40 billion yen in fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2020, and JR Shikoku with about 60 billion yen in the 10 years to fiscal 2020.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press