Topics : Japan is boosting its new economic stimulus package to expand cash payouts to its citizen as the coronavirus fallout threatens to push the world’s third-largest economy deeper into recession.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled the new stimulus less than two weeks after his cabinet approved an earlier plan to spend 108.2 trillion yen ($1 trillion), which had detailed payouts of 300,000 yen to households with sharp drops in incomes hit by the outbreak.Abe has caved into pressure from within his own ruling bloc to boost the help with a payment of 100,000 yen for every citizen instead of 300,000 yen for limited households, analysts say, even as the new amount triples the cost to 12 trillion yen from what the government had originally planned. Expansion of the scheme may support private consumption that accounts for more than half of the economy, some analysts said, while others believe most of the payout would end up in savings rather than spending to shore up the economy.”Recipients of the payouts include the rich and the people whose incomes are not suffering, so savings will also rise,” said Ryutaro Kono, chef economist at BNP Paribas Securities. “Even considering more people will suffer an economic pain this time than during the 2009 financial crisis, the proportion of the payouts that will be spent is estimated at about 40%. As such, it would push up GDP only by 0.3 percentage points.”The upsized package will total 117.1 trillion yen ($1.086 trillion), with fiscal measures making up less than half of it, a draft reviewed by Reuters showed. Some 25.7 trillion yen will be funded by an extra budget for the fiscal year from April 1, compared with an initial extra budget worth 16.8 trillion yen.Monetary, fiscal policy mix While the government boosts fiscal stimulus, the Bank of Japan has also joined other central banks to roll out stimulus to stave off the risk of global recession.The BOJ eased monetary policy last month by pledging to boost risky asset purchases and create a new loan scheme to pump more money into firms hit by slumping sales. The central bank will discuss further steps to ease corporate funding strains at this month’s rate review as the impact hits profits.The government now plans to issue extra bonds worth 25.6914 trillion yen to fund the supplementary budget, the draft showed.Of the extra bond issuance, some 23.3624 trillion yen will be deficit-covering bonds and the reminder will be used to finance infrastructure spending, bringing the amount of market issuance to the upper range of 152 trillion-153 trillion yen.The extra borrowing will add to the industrial world’s heaviest public debt burden, which is more than twice the size of Japan’s $5 trillion economy.It is rare for the government to compile an extra budget at the start of a new fiscal year, and it is even rarer to revise a budget draft that has been approved by the cabinet after coordinating closely with the ruling coalition.Last week, the prime minister, who has been criticized by some over his handling of the pandemic, apologized for confusion over a plan to start distributing coronavirus relief payments next month.Abe’s cabinet is expected to endorse the stimulus spending plan as early as Monday.More than 200 people have died from the virus in Japan, which has reported over 11,000 infections, of which more than a quarter are in Tokyo.
Saudi Arabia used to qualify for World Cups as a matter of course, but failure to make 2010 and 2014 had fans desperate to reach the 2018 World Cup.Led by Bert Van Marwijk, they did. Just. There was some luck along the way, but a last-day victory over an already qualified Japan did the trick and put the Green Falcons above Australia on goal difference. Yet qualification was followed by chaos, as Van Marwijk was replaced by Edgardo Bauza – who then left himself. Currently, former Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has taken up the head coaching role.Key Moments in QualifyingSep 2016The opening game against Thailand in Riyadh was proving to be a frustrating experience until the softest of penalties six minutes from the end allowed Nawaf Al Abed to secure the points. Five days later, the midfielder scores twice more from the spot to give the Saudis a come-from behind win against Iraq.Oct 2016With 11 minutes remaining, Van Marwijk’s men are trailing at home to Australia. Then Nasser Al Shamrani strikes to earn what will turn out to be a vital point won.Nov 2016A 2-1 defeat in Japan prevents Saudi Arabia from breaking free at the top of the group.Sep 2017Needing to beat Japan at home in the final game to qualify, winger Fahad Al Muwallad makes the second-half difference and the 1-0 victory is celebrated wildly. But days later Van Marwijk announces he is leaving, with Edgardo Bauza replacing him.Nov 2017After just five games in charge, Argentinian Bauza was sacked as Saudi coach.Saudi Arabia World Cup GroupIn Group A, Saudi Arabia are in a group containing the hosts Russia, Uruguay, and Egypt, lead by Mohamed Salah.Saudi Arabia World Cup FriendliesSaudi Arabia recently played two friendlies as preparation for the World Cup, a 3-0 victory against Moldova, and then a 4-1 loss to Iraq at the end of February. They then drew against Ukraine, but got hammered by Belgium four days later. Two wins against Algeria and Greece followed, and then two losses to Italy and Peru nearly concluded their World Cup friendlies. Finally they lost to Mats Hummels and Germany on the 8th of June. 26th February – Moldova (won 3-0)28th February – Iraq (lost 4-1)23rd March – Ukraine (drew 1-1)27th March – Belgium (lost 4-0)9th May – Algeria (won 2-0)15th May – Greece (won 2-0)28th May – Italy (lost 2-1)3rd June – Peru (lost 3-0)8th June – Germany (lost 2-1)Saudi Arabia World Cup FixturesSaudi Arabia will play in the opening game of the tournament against the hosts Russia on the 14th of June. This will be followed by matches against Uruguay on the 20th and Egypt on the 25th.14th June – Russia20th June – Uruguay25th June – EgyptThe CoachJuan Antonio Pizzi, age 49 (07.06.1968)Even by Saudi standards, the recent coaching merry-go-round was shocking. Van Marwijk, who had been in place for two years and was building a solid team, left just days after the Russian deal was sealed. In came Bauza, who had taken over the United Arab Emirates just weeks previously. A month later, the Argentinian had also said his goodbyes. Juan Antonio Pizzi, who lead Chile to the Copa America Centenario in 2016, has come in to fill the void.The PlayersStarsNawaf Al Abed was cool and composed throughout the final stage, and he scores as well as creates. When given the opportunity, Fahad Al Muwallad is exciting.StalwartsOsama Hawsawi has been in the centre of defence for a long time – although some feel for too long.MissingNasser Al Shamrani was Asian Player of the Year in 2014 but he started just one game in qualifying.DebutantsVan Marwijk gave a first call-up to right-back Mohammed Al Burayk and the 25-year-old performed well under pressure. Saudi Arabia World Cup SquadFinal 23-man squad – GOALKEEPERS: Mohammed Al Owais (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli), Abdullah Al Mayouf (Al Hilal).DEFENDERS: Mansoor Al Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Shahrani (Al Hilal) Mohammed Al Breik (Al Hilal), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal), Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Ali Al Bulaihi (Al Hilal).MIDFIELDERS: Abdullah Al Khaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al Khaibri (Al Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al Jassim (Al Ahli), Houssain Al Mogahwi (Al Ahli), Salman Al Faraj, Mohamed Kanno (both Al Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal), Yahya Al Shehri (Al Nassr), Fahad Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad).FORWARDS: Mohammad Al Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Muhannad Assiri (Al Ahli). The Unanswered QuestionsWhat effect will the change of coaches have?Losing the experienced Bert Van Marwijk, who took his homeland to the 2010 Final, was huge. Not only did he know the players, they knew him and his system. Edgardo Bauza barely had time to get to know the squad, but friendly performances against Portugal and Bulgaria ended with much criticism and his departure proves that there are few seats as hot as that of Saudi Arabia’s coach. Time will tell if Pizzi can be as effective in this role as he had been with Chile.Is Osama Hawsawi up to the job?At 33, the centre-back and captain came into the team just after the 2006 World Cup but his ageing legs have been showing a little of late.What about international exposure?Almost all the Saudis play at home and this is a problem. Nine were loaned to La Liga clubs in a marketing move to increase the league’s visibility in the Kingdom, but it did not work as they spent all their time on the bench. *Follow the World Cup with the Multimedia Group! With live English radio commentary on Joy 99.7 FM radio, Akan radio commentary on Asempa 94.7 FM and livestreaming on Myjoyonline.com, we’ve got you covered all-tournament long.