You can borrow money for living expenses from the Japanese government

You may need assistance of Japanese speakers when to proceed with the applications, since multilingual support is not available.

You can borrow money from the Government of Japan, if you have experienced decrease in your income or have lost your job.

If you have difficulty making ends meet due to COVID-19, you can get national loans for living expenses–without interest or a guarantor, and regardless of the amount of your income. Foreign nationals are also eligible.

There are two types of loans: one is “Temporary Loan Emergency Fund (緊急小口資金; Kinkyu koguchi shikin)” for those who have experienced decrease in their income and need to borrow money temporarily to make ends meet, another is “General Support Fund (総合支援資金; so-go shien shikin)” for those who are scraping by somehow because of layoffs.

“Temporary Loan Emergency Fund” (緊急小口資金; Kinkyu koguchi shikin)

Eligibility

Those who have experienced decrease in their wages because of temporary business closures/workload reduction caused by COVID-19; they are also in urgent need of money for living expenses.  

Loan amount

Up to 200,000 yen.

Though the loan limit was once 100,000 yen, now you can get a loan up to 200,000 yen if any one of the following conditions apply. 

What’s more, a self-employed worker is also eligible for this 200,000 yen loan if he/she has experienced decrease in his/her income because he/she is taking infection prevention measures.

  • A member of your family tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • A member of your family is a care recipient.
  • Your family consists of 4 members or more.
  • A member of your family is forced to take care of his/her child/children at home due to temporary closure of schools and to take days off from work.
  • A member of your family is a schooler who is supposedly infected with the coronavirus. Because of that, anyone in your family must take days off from work and take care of him/her.
  • You and your family need to get a loan for living expenses since you have been furloughed, laid off and so on.

Repayment term

You must start repaying your loan within a year of getting it and pay it off within 2 years of starting repayment .
e.g. If you get a loan in May 2020, a payback period begins by May 2021 and the period must end by May 2023.

Other conditions to be met

This is a no-interest loan, and you don’t need any guarantor.
※Your loan may get forgiven if you still would be suffering from decrease in income during the repayment period. 

Where to apply

  • Councils of Social Welfare near you 【application/consultation service】
  • Prefectural labour banks (労働金庫; Roudou kinko)【application】
  • Post offices handling application for the loan in the prefecture you live in【application】
  • Online application service for those reside in Akita (秋田県), Wakayama (和歌山県), Tottori (鳥取県), Kagawa (香川県), Miyazaki (宮崎県) 【application】

First and foremost, please find a Council of Social Welfare in the district you reside in and ask there for details.
Click on this link to check where the nearest Council of Social welfare is. 

※At some Councils of Social Welfare of cities/wards/towns/villages, Labour Banks and post offices, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, you may be required to: 

  • Consult them by postal mail
  • Make an appointment for consultation

Please, first of all, confirm what to do/where to go on the website/on the phone.

How to apply

Please visit any of the aforementioned venues to apply for the loan. The documents you submit will go through a screening by prefectural Councils of Social Welfare; you will get a loan if the documents passed the screening.

Required documents
  1. Loan Application Form

    You must fill in required information mentioned below:
  • Your (Loan debtor’s) name and home address
  • Amount of loan and how to pay it back
  • Details of your bank account 
  • Makeup of your family
  1. IOU
    The document acknowledging the loan. You also have to state how to pay it back.
  2. Disclosure statement
    A document stating all the terms, conditions and rules of the loan. Please read it carefully and thoroughly before signing.
  3. Statement of decrease in income
    A document outlining how you end up with lower income than before due to COVID-19.

Along with these four documents, you must also submit “Certificate of Residence”, “photocopy of your bank book or cash card”, “valid ID (e.g. residence card)”.

“General Support Fund” (総合支援資金; So-go shien shikin)

Eligibility

Those who have difficulty making ends meet because they lost their job or experienced decrease in their income. 

How much you can borrow

  • Single-person household: Up to 150,000 yen/month 
  • Multi-person household : Up to 200,000 yen/month

You can get a loan of up to 3 months.

Repayment term

You must start repaying your loan within a year of getting it for the last time and pay it off within 10 years of starting repayment.
e.g. If you gain a 3 month loan in June 2020, you are required to start repaying it by September 2021 and to pay it off within 10 years (by September 2031).

Other conditions to be met

This is a no-interest loan, and you don’t need any guarantor.
Your loan may get forgiven if you still would be suffering from decrease in income during the period of repayment. 

Where to apply

Please apply for the loan at a Council of Social Welfare (社会福祉協議会; Shakai Fukushi Kyougi-kai) near you; it is the only venue for application of this loan. First and foremost, please find a Council of Social Welfare in the district you reside in and ask there for details.
Click on this link to check where the nearest Council of Social welfare is. 

※At some Councils of Social Welfare of cities/wards/towns/villages, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, you may be required to: 

  • Consult them by postal mail
  • Make an appointment for consultation

Please confirm beforehand what to do/where to go on the website/on the phone.

How to Apply

You are required to submit an application form along with other necessary documents, such as Certificate of Residence (住民票; Ju-min hyo), to a Council of Social Welfare near you.

※”A Council of Social Welfare near you” refers to the councils of cities/wards/towns/villages.

Please ask directly at a Council of Social Welfare for any further information about how to apply or required documents.
The documents you submit will go through a screening by prefectural Council of Social Welfare. You will get a loan once the document passed the screening.

For further information

If you have any further query on how they (Temporary Loan Emergency Fund & General Support Fund) work, please consult the helpline below. However, please know that it supports Japanese only. 

・Temporary Loan Emergency Fund/General Support Fund Helpline (For individuals)
 Phone number:0120-46-1999
 Times of operation:9:00~21:00(7 days a week)
 No calling fee applies. & FAX inquiry is also supported. 

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is operating a website about the loans where you can check FAQs on them. The website is supported in these languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese. The link is below:

生活福祉資金の特例貸付・住居確保給付金特設ホームページ
新型コロナウイルス感染の影響により収入が減少し生活に困窮する方に必要な生活費用等の貸付や、住居を失うおそれが生じている方々に一定期間家賃相当額を支給します。
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