Japan offers families $7,600 per child to leave Tokyo


Japan is offering families 1 million yen (about $7,627) per child to leave Tokyo in hopes of reducing overcrowding.

An additional 700,000 yen (about $5,339) has been added to what was originally 300,000 yen (about $2,288) due to the increased concentration of people in the nation’s capital. With a population of 125.7 million, 28% of Japan’s population (about 35 million) is concentrated in Tokyo and the neighboring regions of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba.

The Japanese government’s fear of overcrowding stems from the growing risks of potential earthquakes. In 2019, the Japan Headquarters for the Promotion of Earthquake Research highlighted a 47% chance of a strong earthquake in Tokyo within the next 30 years.

Officials’ fears were confirmed in October when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Japan’s capital. In March, the northeast coast of Japan faced a earthquake of magnitude 7.4leaving four dead and thousands without power.

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As a result, the government hopes to induce families from the main metropolitan area – as well as those from neighboring areas – to move to regional areas in Japan, Daily mail reports.

Families participating in this relocation program can move to host municipalities (cities with local governments) or mountainous areas in and around Tokyo.

However, to receive the government’s offer of 1 million yen per child, recipients will need to live in their relocation area for at least five years while employed. Those who do not meet these requirements will be asked to return the money.

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In line with government targets, approximately 1,300 municipalities participated in the resettlement program in 2022. However, only 2,381 beneficiaries have participated in resettlement efforts since 2019.

In addition to the relocation program, the Japanese government also submitted a stalled proposal to develop Osaka as a second capital in 2011. In 2019, the government also moved the Consumer Agency to Shikoku Island.

However, despite overcrowding issues in Japan’s major cities, the country is facing a rapid decline in the birth rate. The number of births for 2022 is expected to fall below the previous year’s record low of 811,000 births in what Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno described as a “critical situation”.

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Although the government has attempted to encourage its younger population to reproduce through the payment of subsidies, many have pointed to the high cost of living, corporate culture, difficult economic conditions, lack of inclusiveness and individual freedom as reasons against marriage and childbirth.

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