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Tokyo’s latest plan to boost birth rate: Pay people 100,000 yen per baby they give birth to

38 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japan’s birth rate has been in decline for a long time, and the coronavirus didn’t make the situation any better in 2020. It’s hard to decide to take your relationship to the “let’s get married and start a family together” level during a pandemic, and while couples cohabiting ostensibly had more time to spend together as they shifted to stay-home lifestyles, the coronavirus was a major contributor to another reason couples in Japan often delay, or choose not to, have children.

While gender expectations are a much discussed factor in Japan’s low birth rate, another key concept is Japan’s strong cultural sense of familial responsibility. Japanese couples tend to be very cautious about starting a family unless they’re completely certain they can provide financially for their expanding family. With the pandemic having a negative impact on job and income security, Tokyo’s birth rate fell even lower in 2020. Only about 60,000 pregnancies were reported between April and October, roughly a 10-percent drop compared to that period the previous year.

But there’s a new plan to boost births in the capital: start paying people in Tokyo to have kids. A new proposal would award couples who give birth to a baby in Tokyo with 100,000 yen per newborn child.

If approved, the initiative would run for two years, allowing households with multiple pregnancies carried to term within the period to receive the award more than once. Parents wouldn’t be handed a stack of cash at the hospital though. Instead, the program would award them with credit to be redeemed, via a website, for childcare items and services. The 100,000-yen amount was chosen after research showed that average hospital costs for having a baby in Tokyo are 100,000 yen more than for the rest of Japan.

However, it stands to reason that it’s not just having a baby that’s more expensive in Japan’s most costly city, but raising a child there too. It won’t be long until that 100,000-yen grant is used up, and it’s really a pretty measly drop in the bucket compared to the child’s total financial needs, as many online commenters have been quick to point out with reactions such as:

“100,000 yen isn’t enough,”

“I can’t, in any way, imagine a scenario where someone says ‘All right! We can get 100,000 yen, so let’s pop out a baby!’”

“What a bunch of cheapskates. Give us 500,000 yen.”

“Total tightwads. Why not give us 1 million yen?”

“Do they just want to help people make babies, or help them actually raise them?”

“I’m kind of suspicious about how they’ll choose which companies the credit can be redeemed with.”

And that’s to say nothing of all the couples who don’t feel comfortable getting pregnant or bringing an infant into the world in the current health climate regardless of how much money they have, and whose stance is that a viable coronavirus vaccine is an absolute requirement for starting a family.

On the other hand, it’s not like promising people 100,000 yen is going to make them less likely to have kids, and the proposal at least sounds more realistic than trying to pump up the birth rate by having artificial intelligence programs pick out spouses for people or simply relying on parents to nag their adult children into procreating.

The proposal is scheduled to be introduced at a meeting of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in February, and if approved would go into effect this spring.

Sources: TBS News via Golden Times, Livedoor News/Tele Asa News, Yahoo! Japan News/Abema News, YouTube/ANNnewsCH

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- 6 surprising things about having a baby in Japan

-- Japanese government to start giving newlywed couples a wedding gift of 600,000 yen

-- Tokyo plan to give 100,000 yen to residents who get infected with coronavirus sparks backlash

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

38 Comments
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100,000 yen?? it is too little. They should be given more money.

To Be Honest,,100,000 yen doesn't spur me into having a baby, in terms of finance.

What is 100,000 yen? What can you buy for the baby in japan?? not much.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

This is bad. It’s just encourage idiots and unfit parents to spit out babies just for cash.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

How about completely covering the cost of all pregnancy and birth related charges for Tokyo residents in Tokyo hospitals?

If they are saying that the government subsidy is 100K short, just cover the difference and remove any uncertainty. Even better would be for them to handle all the paperwork etc and not have any delays waiting for refunds and allowances.

Make it simple.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I live in the countryside. Here housing is much cheaper cheaper than in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Here it does not cost much more for an apartment with one more room. Here young married couples have kids, and often three or four.

To have more kids you need more room and more rooms. The way to increase the birthrate is to increase the number of young couples living in the countryside, and the way to do that is to improve job opportunities in the countryside. In fact, in the countryside it is easier to buy a house with a garden, live somewhere suitable for bringing up a child.

This idea is even more pathetic than the 100,000 coronavirus handout. It will have absolutely no effect. No one is going to be persuaded to take on the cost of feeding, housing, educating a child for 20 years or more by such a paltry sum.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

No one is going to be persuaded to take on the cost of feeding, housing, educating a child for 20 years or more by such a paltry sum.

And everything else that gaijintraveller said.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Add another zero and no burdensome application for the new mother!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The best strategy to boost birth rate in Japan, and specially Tokyo is to modernize working culture and to promote work-life balance.

No cash payment will be as effective as the above.

However the general aversion to change/adaptability in the way of thinking about work will always be a barrier to any improvements.

Sad, as should Japan have a more attractive working culture it would be by far the best place in the world to live, and ageing population would quickly change to the better.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Put women in charge and you will see changes.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The best strategy to boost birth rate in Japan, and specially Tokyo is to modernize working culture and to promote work-life balance.

Unfortunately, European countries that have “modern” working cultures and better work-life balance also have declining birth rates at similar levels to Japan’s.

Modernizing will do no more to address the problem than these nonsense cash handouts will.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Great, 2 packs of pampers and a box of milk powder. Let’s have a baby

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Unfortunately, European countries that have “modern” working cultures and better work-life balance also have declining birth rates at similar levels to Japan’s.

I thought France was above replacement? Unfortunately Japan can not do like the US and accept immigrants from its neighbor (Mexico) because China and SK both also are facing the demographic cliff. Hopefully we are not in the slot motion of the complete annihilation of humans.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Is someone real serious? 100,000 Yen ('$1,000) per baby to boost birthrate? That must be insignificantly small amount for any form of enticement.

Like in the west, fewer Japanese want to start a family to raise children. Many dare not face the very uncertain future in most aspects. How to convince them of the nation's need to have more babies? Rather impossible..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ridiculous. Shows those in charge have no idea about raising a child.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I myself am in my 20s with a Japanese spouse whom I've been married for 2 years now. We are very uncertain as to when we will be "ready" to have a child with both our jobs not allowing us to have a decent WLB and our pay being very moderate. We are struggling to do house hold chores and cooking as is and just don't see ourselves capable of raising a child without constant stress and backlash (I've been receiving mild DV from my wife as she gets more and more stress from work as well as our financial situation). It's fine for me but I don't want this to continue in front of our future kids. Problem is that I cannot support our home just off my salary so my wife will need to continue to work and we will most likely consider day care. Day care, After school programs, tutoring are really expensive in Japan but are crucial to have a well educated child (at least that is what all my Japanese peers have told me) because apparently regular schools just don't teach much and don't prepare you for those stressful entrance exams. We also look towards investing in a "my home" where we can raise kids and hopefully have paid off before retirement (because we most likely won't be able to pay rent with our retirement fund) but do not see any merits in buying a home in Tokyo as they are close to half a million USD for a small 3LDK that has your neighbor's window next to yours.

I don't speak for most people here but I am sure that a lot of married couples in there 20s are facing the same uncertainties in raising a child. It's not that we don't want any, it's just complicating because we have high expectations in which we are trying to save money for but don't know the right time to say "okay now's the time to raise a child"

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Build the economy and get salaries up in real terms from their long-term decline

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

You can easily spend 100,000yen at akachan honpo and still not have everything you need for the start let alone the first year or so. What a ridiculous attempt to encourage people to have kids.

I pay 70,000yen per month for a hoikuen, how is that measly payment going to do anything. Firstly remove having to pay for the birth then getting a refund, let's just make that free. Secondly invest in government hoikuens in overcrowded ku's so every baby born is guaranteed a place if the mother wants to continue working.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I've been receiving mild DV

Thanks for your courage is sharing this.

Mild DV is like slightly pregnant. It won't improve, only worsen. The physical violence mightn't hurt, but the psychological will. If you do have a child, you'll feel obliged to put up with that violence, and so will your kid.

Cut your losses while you can, buddy.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Is someone real serious? 100,000 Yen ('$1,000) per baby to boost birthrate? That must be insignificantly small amount for any form of enticement.

100% agree....make it $10,000 and they might see a slight improvement...possibly.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What a joke! 100,000 yen? really?

GOJ needs to find ways to balance the work/personal life. Increase pay to be able to support a family. Decrease the dollar amount that is required to send kids to school. I have have 3 children myself and they go to Japanese schools. The amount needed to pay for schooling/school related activities is not cheap. Add that on top of normal day to day living expenses and people have no money left. Luckily, my wife and I make pretty good money so are able to pay for what is needed, but there are a lot of people who aren't in the same financial position. I know that when my third child was born, my wife was told if we had another child we would receive $500. I almost laughed.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The nonsense they print and spend money on and for this they offer a pittance.  Typical.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How much did Dentsu charge for this gem?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

10 kids x 100,000 yen is a million yen. The couple can buy a used car.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Y100,000.....................what kind of ignorant fools come up with this dumb idea....oh yeah J-govt types....what a mess, the rot continues!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Remind me to throw some crumbs for the pigeons tonight.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Mild DV is like slightly pregnant. It won't improve, only worsen. The physical violence mightn't hurt, but the psychological will. If you do have a child, you'll feel obliged to put up with that violence, and so will your kid.

Cut your losses while you can, buddy.

SDCA, you really need to consider the above advice, it is GOOD ADVICE. Your Mrs has SHOWN her true colours, IF you add a kid to this marriage of yours you are guaranteed a TON of pain & misery, life ruined,GET DIVORCED!! You are still young & can easily rebound.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If Japan is serious about increasing the birth rates and stabilizing or growing its population it needs to do what the US has: We encourage unwed mothers to have as many children as possible. We support them through both local and federal subsidies. Then we heap on a huge amount of praise about the struggle of single motherhood. The guys that knock them up are not required to support their kids but we the tax payer will do that. And when the child grows up they can play the victim card and blame all their demons and short comings on society and start collecting money and breading just like their parents. Trust me once you create that success pool of parenting your population will explode!!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@jim4790

Fabulous remark and so true. And each kid has a different father, so much easier to collect welfare.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I concur with the advice to not put up with DV. It will likely worsen. Patterns in relationships are very difficult to change.

As for this payment, it's a gift horse and I wouldn't look it in the mouth. It's not going to cover very much and likely isn't intended to, but it's better than nothing.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So, the government has stooped to buying babies. What's next? Soylent Green? Terminate the elders? Hmmm. Sounds like Suga and Co. have finally lost it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That will just about cover the medical expenses. Insurance does not since childbirth is not an illness.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't even think that would cover the cost of giving birth, you know, since having a baby is not covered under health care. How about starting with that? Put birth as something covered by health insurance, even when it does not involve complications. Then, pay 100,000 per family, PER MONTH and you might see a slight value in it... until schooling starts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

**@SDCA "We are struggling to do house hold chores and cooking as is and just don't see ourselves capable of raising a child without constant stress and backlash (I've been receiving mild DV from my wife as she gets more and more stress from work as well as our financial situation). It's fine for me but I don't want this to continue in front of our future kids. Problem is that I cannot support our home just off my salary so my wife will need to continue to work and we will most likely consider day care". *Sorry to say but from reading your post you are in a situation that looks like it is not going to get any better, "struggling to do house hold chores, cooking,** ***receiving mild DV from your wife as she gets more and more stress from work as well as your financial situation. Your problem seems to be more than just affording a child it appears to be a money a problem that is not going to get any better perhaps only worse. If you guys do have a child their goes her income, and their is a 100% chance she is not going to want to go back to work so more money problems. Hate to burst your bubble

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't even think that would cover the cost of giving birth, you know, since having a baby is not covered under health care. How about starting with that?

You mean those costs they already cover that they're adding 100,000 yen to?

Maybe you should fact-check yourself before posting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

get salaries up in real terms

I agree. Raising the income by lowering taxes will provide a stable life for young people. I'd start with a fixed rate for health insurance for everyone!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jim4790Jan. 21  06:20 pm JST

If Japan is serious about increasing the birth rates and stabilizing or growing its population it needs to do what the US has: We encourage unwed mothers to have as many children as possible. We support them through both local and federal subsidies. Then we heap on a huge amount of praise about the struggle of single motherhood. The guys that knock them up are not required to support their kids but we the tax payer will do that. And when the child grows up they can play the victim card and blame all their demons and short comings on society and start collecting money and breading just like their parents. Trust me once you create that success pool of parenting your population will explode!!

-2( +1 / -3 )

> SandyBeachHeavenJan. 21  07:13 pm JST

@jim4790

Fabulous remark and so true. And each kid has a different father, so much easier to collect welfare.

 

You are both right on the mark. Oh my, how very true this is.  In the USA, in 2018, for single mothers the rate of births was 28% for whites, 52 % for Hispanics, and 69% for blacks. They know that if they declare they are single with children they will get more money in welfare, food stamps, etc..  Even if the “father” lives with them, the mothers still declare they are single mothers so as to get these payments. For children living in single-parent homes, the odds of living in poverty are great. Guess which political party encourages this? Yes, the Democratic liberal party, particularly in the black community. Why? Simply to keep these people, mostly the black community, under their control and future votes. They don’t want the black community to think for themselves. Even Biden essentially said this when he famously said “If you vote for Trump, you ain’t black”. The black community is taken for granted, and paid off with welfare etc.. It was the Democratic party that kept blacks physically enslaved 200 years ago and then were only freed after the Civil War. Now, in 2021, they are kept in financial slavery.  Check out these statistics:

https://www.childtrends.org/publications/dramatic-increase-in-percentage-of-births-outside-marriage-among-whites-hispanics-and-women-with-higher-education-levels

0 ( +1 / -1 )

foreignbrotherhoodarmyJan. 21  07:50 am JST

This is bad. It’s just encourage idiots and unfit parents to spit out babies just for cash.

An incentive for irresponsible 'accidents' and maybe deadbeat daddies for sure. It takes responsibility to raise kids and too many people have to work too much for that. How about raising all wages (esp. minimum) for starters?

Tango2179Jan. 21  03:34 pm JST

What a joke! 100,000 yen? really?

GOJ needs to find ways to balance the work/personal life. Increase pay to be able to support a family. Decrease the dollar amount that is required to send kids to school. 

Higher wages, it's easier to raise a family - along with less time at work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

100 000yen per baby per year, that should do it.

(I was gonna say every 3 months, but wanted to be realistic)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s not enough and I’m not sure about Japan but here in Australia I don’t think it’s just about economics. It’s that we have had generation after generation of war traumatised men (and families) and absolutely no sign of that ever stopping. We’ve had enough. We know certain people are all in cahoots and unless you are part of that very small circle, you can only really look forward to more of the same. So why bother and why bring more children into it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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