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Abe orders gov’t to take steps to mitigate virus impact on economy

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a news conference with Russia's President Vladimir Putin after the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan June 29, 2019. Yuri Kadobnov/Pool via REUTERS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, Feb 7, 2020, Reuters. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered his government to take “all necessary steps” to mitigate the impact of the virus outbreak on the economy, including tapping state budget reserves, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Friday, Japan Today reported.

The government will compile emergency measures to respond to the impact of the outbreak as early as next week, Abe was quoted as saying by Japan’s Jiji news agency.

“There’s a risk the coronavirus outbreak could hurt consumption, so we need to watch developments carefully,” Nishimura told reporters after a regular cabinet meeting.

“The impact on inbound tourism is also a concern,” he said.

Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters he has asked government-affiliated financial institutions to ensure companies in need of funds to cope with the outbreak are able to borrow smoothly.

“To prevent the spread of new coronavirus from severely affecting business lending, we’ve decided today to ask for support from public and private financial institutions,” said Aso, who also oversees Japan’s banking sector.

Another 41 people on a cruise liner off Japan tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total confirmed from the ship to 61.

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