Osaka eyes offering free school meals starting in April amid virus spread
Japan Times -- Mar 18
Osaka plans to offer free lunch meals for all students at municipally run elementary and junior high schools starting April amid the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mayor Ichiro Matsui said Tuesday.

The measure, the first of its kind by a major Japanese city, is intended to mitigate the economic impact on households from the virus epidemic, although it is not known whether schools — which have closed since March 2 — will reopen after spring break through early April.

“We would like to create a situation that would allow child-rearing generations shouldering economic burdens to feel at ease” with the free school lunch program, Matsui said.

The program will cover students regardless of family income, allowing families to annually save between ¥50,000 ($470) and ¥60,000 per child, he said.

The city estimates the cost will total ¥7.7 billion a year, the funding of which for fiscal 2020 starting in April will involve its public finance adjustment reserve.

大阪市の松井市長は17日、市立の小中学校の給食費を4月から無償化する方針を明らかにした。当面は世帯所得などの条件は設けず、子育て世代を支援するための経済対策だという。そもそも、4月から全国的な学校再開が可能なのかどうかについて、萩生田文部科学大臣は「できる限り、新年度の授業再開を目指したい。年度内をめどに目安を作っていきたいと思っている」と述べた。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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