As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the world, Japan announced a state of emergency, temporarily forcing businesses to shutter and people to stay indoors for the weeks to come.
With the lockdown and social distancing protocols in place, sex workers in the country have found themselves suddenly without a job and means to pay their bills.
To alleviate the economic blow, the Japanese government recently launched a 108 trillion stimulus package (US$989 billion) to help businesses, including sex workers who are eligible for application.
According to foreign media, sex workers and related agency employers are forced to stay home, meaning that they are eligible for the subsidy because of their income loss.
However, the financial aid was met with some criticism as many complained that the rules for the aid and eligibility were hard to understand and difficult to match.
The rules reportedly do not state clearly whether the subsidy is available to people who have lost a certain amount of money or those that have been altogether dismissed from their previous jobs.
In addition, applicants have to show proof of salary and subsequent loss of income to apply. However, this creates a challenge for sex workers as discreet payments may prevent them from providing full disclosure to the government.
With stigma still surrounding sex workers, many are also hesitant to report their occupation or full income for fear of consequences.