03/02/2021, 09.35
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Tokyo economy resists rise in new Covid-19 strains

Infections from new strains of the coronavirus passed from 15 to 50%. The unemployment rate drops to 2.9%. There are 110 jobs available in the country for every 100 residents looking for employment. Concern about when the government will withdraw fiscal stimuli and business subsidies.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The new strains of Covid-19 are spreading with great speed in Japan, but the economy seems to be resisting the impact. According to a survey conducted in Kobe and published yesterday, after 19 February about 50% of the infected contracted a variant of the coronavirus: between February 12 and 18 the rate was 15%.

The country has so far recorded 433,000 cases of infection and just over 7,900 deaths. A state of emergency has been in force since January in 11 of the 47 national prefectures. The spread of the variants worries experts: they could slow down the vaccination campaign, which began last week.

The decision to adopt partial lockdowns and not a declaration of emergency for the whole country has favoured a hint of economic recovery. The Labour Ministry announced this morning that the unemployment rate was 2.9% in January: down from 3% in November and December. The most encouraging figure is that since the beginning of 2021 there are 110 jobs available per 100 residents looking for employment.

Due to the pandemic crisis, Japan's gross domestic product contracted by 4.8% annually in 2020: the worst figure among the large economies of East Asia (China, South Korea and Taiwan). The sectors that are responding best to the emergency are healthcare and health services.

Analysts, however, expect a worsening of the employment situation. They note that employment has been kept at positive levels thanks to public intervention: when the state of emergency is lifted, the number of unemployed is likely to grow significantly. A problem that Tokyo has in common with all those governments that are using public spending to support the private sector.

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