If You Are Experiencing a Decrease in Income Due to COVID-19 ③: Temporary Loan Emergency Funds


photo by GotCredit

The spread of COVID-19, which had started in December last year, swept the world just like that and yet has not ended. The declaration of emergency statement, which was announced in April, was finally cancelled in mid-May. But the pandemic affected Japan significantly: the Japanese economy slumped because the entire nation was required to refrain from going out. Consequently, a large number of people experienced huge income decrease and some are struggling to squeeze money for living. In such an emergency situation, you may be eligible to borrow small amount of money from welfare loan to supplement living expenses for a short period of time. This column will introduce “Temporary Loan Emergency Funds system” conducted by local Social Welfare Council.


About Temporary Loan Emergency Funds

Temporary Loan Emergency Funds is a welfare system conducted by local Social Welfare Council to lend a small amount of money to low income households or those who are in poverty due to unemployment to supplement their costs of living. Among several different kinds of loan that they provide, “Emergency Small Fund” and “General Support Funds (living expense)” is designed to support individual applicants. In addition, the eligibility conditions of these two loans have been eased to accept more people who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The best advantages of these loans are that applicants are not required to have a guarantor or pay interest. Also grace period to grant borrowers a moratorium on payments is generous 1 year.


Emergency Small Fund

General Support Funds (living expense)

Eligible person

Low income households that require an urgent temporary loan to maintain their livelihood

→Households facing a decrease in income due to temporary suspension of work, etc. as a result of COVID-19, and require an urgent temporary loan to maintain their livelihood

Households that have financial difficulty due to reduced income or unemployment, making it difficult to maintain their daily life

→Households affected by COVID-19 pandemic that are suffering financially because of reduced income or unemployment, making it difficult to maintain their daily life


Up to \100,000

→Up to \200,000 for households affected by a temporary suspension of work due to child’s school closure or household with any members who are sole proprietors and their income has decreased,

Up to \100,000 for other cases

\200,000/month for household with 2 or more members

Up to \150,000 for single household

Loan period: Within 3 months in principle

Grace period

Within 2 months

→Within 1 year

Within 6 months

→Within 1 year

Repayment deadline

12 months 

→Within 2 years

Within 10 years



None with guarantor /1.5% without guarantor



Not required


Local Social Welfare Council

Other than local Social Welfare Councils, applications can be made at Labour Bank and Post Office.

Labour Bank

Post Office


*The difference between “Emergency Small Fund” and “General Support Funds” is: the former is for those who have income decrease due to temporary stoppage of work, while the later is for those who are suffering financially due to unemployment. These two loans cannot be combined at the same time, but you may be allowed use General Support Funds after using Emergency Small Fund but you still have a financial difficulty.


Application procedures and required documents

Application procedures for Temporary Loan Emergency Funds may vary by each municipality, but generally follow the below steps. 

  1. Contact your local Social Welfare Council office and consult the staff about your financial situation.
  2. Following instructions from the local Social Welfare Council office, send required documents and make an appointment for interview.
  3. After the interview, the local Social Welfare Council assess your case.
  4. Once loan is granted, payment will be transferred into your bank account after 1 -2 weeks (payment date varies by municipality).


Required Documents

For both Emergency Small Fund and General Support Funds: 

  • Application form
  • Bond of debt
  • Disclosure statement
  • Declaration of reduced income
  • Original copy of residence registry (all household members)
  • Bank book
  • Valid identification (driver license, passport, etc.)
  • Residence card

*Forms such as application form and bond of debt can be downloaded from the website of local Social Welfare Council, or you can also request the council to send them to your address.



Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people who had to stop working or lost their job is rapidly increasing. Many international workers and students are suffering financially because they lost income sources. If you are facing significant financial difficulty and struggling to pay everyday expenses, contact your local Social Welfare Council office immediately and apply for Emergency Small Fund loan. It cannot be transferred immediately as you have to pass an assessment, you can borrow money to supplement your living expenses with 5 business days at earliest, normally 1- 2 weeks.


Related Article:
If You Are Experiencing a Decrease in Income Due to COVID-19 ①: Housing Security Benefit
If You Are Experiencing a Decrease in Income Due to COVID-19 ②: Special Cash payments





あきらことほ Kotoho Akira

Living outside Japan for a good many years, I often rediscover nice little things about this country every time I return here. I would be more than happy if this column may help you find your "nice little things about Japan"!

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