TOKYO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Japan’s government plans to create a fund to help companies pay subsidies to workers who need to take days off to look after their children while schools are closed, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday, without citing sources.
The move comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday asked local authorities to shut schools from Monday in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
This means students will be out from Monday at least until the new academic year starts in early April, prompting Japanese parents, along with teachers and businesses, to scramble to find new ways to live and work.
Abe is expected to explain how the government will cope with impact of the closure of schools at a media briefing scheduled for Saturday, the report said.
Japan also aims to pass legislation that would allow local governments to control the usage of public facilities as another measure to prevent the spread of the virus during the ongoing parliament session, the report said.
Infections from the virus in Japan have topped 200, with five deaths - including one on Friday of a man in his seventies. That excludes more than 700 cases and five more deaths from the quarantined cruise liner Diamond Princess, docked in Yokohama. (Reporting by Junko Fujita Editing by Ed Davies)