By MUTSUMI MITOBE/ Staff Writer
April 8, 2020 at 18:09 JST
In these stressful times, the yearning to get close to nature can be pretty strong, especially for those living in Japan's crowded cities.
And the Environment Ministry is only too happy to help--by inviting people to stay in a national park and, wait for it, work.
The government earmarked 11.5 billion yen ($105.6 million) for a so-called workcation promotion program in the supplementary budget for the current fiscal year that the Cabinet approved on April 7 as an emergency economic stimulus package in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The ministry said 600 million yen will be spent on setting up an appropriate communications environment in camping grounds and other areas so visitors can telework without any hassle.
The number of visitors to national parks has dropped sharply with the spread of the coronavirus.
This, in the ministry's view, was something it could capitalize on with officials citing the low risk of catching the deadly disease in camping grounds and outdoor environments.
Many companies have embraced teleworking as a way to keep their employees safe and minimize the infection risk.
Ministry officials have been assured that “workcation” will be the next big thing once the pandemic slows down. After all, wouldn't it be nice if people could relax in nature and work at the same time?
The ministry will also support related tour operators.
The global pandemic has prompted many business entities to relocate production base from abroad to Japan.
The ministry also plans to spend 5 billion yen to assist companies who set up solar panels to supply electricity to newly relocated factories and shops.
With a view to ending the coronavirus outbreak, a total of 3 billion yen will be spent to help restaurants install high-quality ventilation systems.
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