The Japanese government is offering ¥1 million ($7,500) per child to families moving out of greater Tokyo to prevent population decline in the regions.
The incentive – a dramatic increase from the previous transfer fee of ¥300,000 – will be introduced in April as part of an official push to breathe life into shrinking cities and villages, according to Japanese media.
Though Tokyo’s population has declined For the first time last year – a trend attributed in part to the coronavirus pandemic – politicians believe more needs to be done to reduce the city’s population density. encourage people to start a new life in the country’s “off-the-beaten-path” regions, affected by an aging, declining population and the migration of young people to Tokyo, Osaka and other big cities.
Payments of up to ¥3 million, which already have financial support, will be offered to families living in Tokyo’s 23 “core” wards and the neighboring suburban belt prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa.
Families must move outside the greater Tokyo area to receive the benefits, although some may receive cash if they move to mountainous areas within the city limits, Kyodo news agency reported, citing officials.
Around 1,300 municipalities – around 80% of the total – have joined the scheme in the hope of changing public attitudes that have gained momentum during the pandemic, where more workers are discovering the benefits of remote working.
Families hoping for an easy paycheck before returning to the capital will be disappointed. They must have lived in their new home for at least five years and a family member must be employed or planning to start a new job. Those who moved before five years will have to return the cash.
Officials hope the generous sums offered will encourage families with children under 18 to revitalize the regions and ease pressures on space and public services in greater Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolis of about 35 million people.
In principle, relocating families receive ¥1 million to ¥3 million per home, provided they meet one of three criteria: work for a small or medium-sized company in the area they are moving to; continue in their old jobs through remote work; or start a business in their new home, according to the Nikkei business newspaper. After higher fees are taken into account, a family with two children can receive up to ¥5 million in benefits.
Kyodo said half of the money will come from the central government and the other half from local municipalities.
With 1,184 families supported in 2021, compared to 71 in 2019 and 290 in 2020, the scheme has struggled to capture the public imagination for three years, according to Nikkei.
The government hopes 10,000 people will move from Tokyo to rural areas by 2027.
To attract new residents, Japan’s hollowed-out towns and villages tout the charm of rural life, easy access to undersubscribed childcare, and in the case of the village of Otari in Nagano Prefecture, availability of suitable men.
The latest attempt to revive the districts comes amid another decline Japanpopulation of
The population The world’s third-largest economy saw a record drop of 644,000 in 2020-21, according to government data. It is expected to drop from 125 million today to an estimated 88 million in 2065 – a 30% decline in 45 years.
While the number of over-65s continues to grow, the birth rate remains stubbornly low At 1.3 children – well below the 2.1 children needed to maintain the current population.
The number of births in 2021 was 811,604, the lowest since records were first kept in 1899. In contrast, the number of births centuries More than 90,500 compared to just 153 in 1963.
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