November 25, 2017 / 4:25 AM / in a year

Japan to spend around $17 billion to subsidise education - media

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s government will set aside around 2 trillion yen (£13.45 billion) to subsidise education costs and improve elderly care as part of an economic package due early next month, the Asahi newspaper said on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: Students line up in front of Japan's national flag at the morning assembly at Tsukamoto kindergarten in Osaka, Japan, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ha Kwiyeon

The government will earmark 800 billion yen for a new programme that will offer free day care for children 3 to 5 years old and free childcare for low-income households with children up to 2 years old from April 2019, the newspaper said.

FILE PHOTO: An elderly person in a wheelchair is aided by a woman as they past the street in Sugamo district, an area popular among the Japanese elderly, in Tokyo, Japan June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The government will spend another 800 billion yen to offer free university education and more grants to low-income households that will begin in fiscal 2020, the newspaper said, without citing its sources.

The package will also set aside around 100 billion yen to raise wages for workers at elderly homes and day care centres, the newspaper said. The package is expected to be formally approved on Dec. 8, the newspaper said.

To fund the spending, the government will use 1.7 trillion yen in revenue from an increase in the nationwide sales tax scheduled for October 2019 and an increase in employer contributions, the newspaper said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made increased spending on education and assistance for low-income families a top priority after a big win in lower-house elections last month.

Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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