Photo: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)

Niigata town will give you ¥2 million for having your 3rd child there in birth-boosting plan

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japan’s birthrate has been slumping for decades, and while anyone packed into a crowded Tokyo commuter train might momentarily be fine with the concept of fewer people, long-term it presents problems for Japan’s pension, health insurance, and other social welfare and economic systems.

Because of that, both the national and local governments are constantly investigating new initiatives to encourage people to start cranking out more kids, and the latest plan from the city of Sado, Niigata Prefecture, is to give parents two million yen for having a third kid, and also for each additional kid after that.

That’s not to say that a city official shows up in the delivery room with a stack of 200 10,000-yen bills, though, since the grant is meant to help with the costs of both child rearing and education. The parents receive a payment of 200,000 on the occasion of the child’s birth followed by sums of 400,000, 500,000, and 800,000 yen when they turn 6, 12, and 15 years old, roughly aligning with the ages when they start elementary, middle, and high school (as high school is not part of compulsory education in Japan, even public high schools charge tuition). Combined with a separate Sado program started earlier in the year that gives a 100,000-yen grant for any birth in the city, the total payment for each third or later child comes out to two million yen.

But why start the surge at the third child? Because of the results of a survey Sado conducted last year among households in the city who already have children, which asked them how large of a family they’d ideally like. More than half of the respondents said they’d like to have three kids, but many also said that such a large family would be economically difficult for them.

Sado’s strategy of focusing on families that already have children makes a certain kind of sense. As Japanese lifestyles continue to evolve and become more diverse, there’s comparatively less social pressure to have children than there was in previous generations, and thus a larger number of people who simply aren’t interested in having kids of their own. Respecting their freedom to make that choice, and instead concentrating on couples who’ve already decided they want to be parents but are hesitant to expand their brood because of budgetary concerns, sounds like a win-win.

On the other hand, one could argue that waiting until the third child for the major economic support to kick in makes it harder for childless couples to make that first, or even second, step into parenthood, and that spreading the benefits more evenly among births could lower that entry barrier.

Still, for couples who would like big family, two million yen is a lot of money, and Sado hopes that the program not only promotes births among its current households, but also helps convince people from other parts of Japan to move to the city and raise their children there.

Source: NHK News Web

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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

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

-- Japanese politician’s birthrate plan: Have parents nag their kids to have “at least three babies”

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

2 million for a third child? How about this, for the first child:

pay for the birth

pay for baby supplies

payments to make up the salary the woman will lose, including the five or six years she will have to stay at home, as well as payments for the setback in her career for the time she won't be able to make up


pay for daycare from age 0-preschool AND a house cleaner so that she doesn't have to work AND do housework + childcare

pay for the child's education, including university

Then maybe more women would have even ONE child.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Clearly whoever green lit this plan doesn’t take care of more than one kid. If they have at all.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Stories like this always make it sound like one authority, here Sado, is uniquely throwing money around, here in a PR-friendly way, but that is not the case. Many towns have 3rd child policies. Our town is one of the stingiest in our area, but public hoikuen was free for us for child #3 from 3 to 5 years old (3 y.o. is when the kids go into classes). That saved us getting on for 500,000 yen (the cost is means tested) now that I've sat down and bothered to work it out.

The vast majority of people, especially in the countryside, do not pay fees for senior high. The local board of education will cover them if you under earn seven million, which covers most people and almost everyone self-employed (farmers and fishermen on Sado etc) who won't declare much income. This applies to both private and public high schools, so don't write off private schools for your child due to fees you may not have to pay. You just pay for uniforms, text books, clubs, entrance exams, etc. The big expense for deep inaka people is either transportation, potentially 40,000 plus a month for a faraway school, or dorm accommodation, which will be the more likely outcome for kids from Sado. Three years of dorm accommodation alone can come to two million yen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

2 million yen over a child's lifetime ? That is about 16 000€.

In my home country, I get over 400€ per month for family allowances : for 10 years only, that is 10 x 12 x 400 = 48000€ !

And everything's nearly free (no uniform to pay, no juku necessary) as for public schools.

I know you something like 10 000 ¥ per child a month in Japan too but that is far from giving the due return if you raise well your family.

Girl_in_Tokyo spot on, unfortunately it is too late not enough manpower to get house cleaner nowadays for every family in the need (outside if Japan wishes mass immigration).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

payments to make up the salary the woman will lose, including the five or six years she will have to stay at home, as well as payments for the setback in her career for the time she won't be able to make up


pay for daycare from age 0-preschool AND a house cleaner so that she doesn't have to work AND do housework + childcare

Why are you assuming only women do housework and take care of children. Rather sexist.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'd have to question this investment. If you want more children, subsidize the first two, as well. The cost of raising a family, even in rural areas, is still high, and wages low. As beautiful as Sadogashima is, those kids who leave the island to go to university on Honshu will probably not return to live there full time - there are simply not a lot of jobs there not connected to fishing, agriculture or tourism, and not every college grad can be a public servant. In that sense, the policy is self-defeating. It's really aimed at having enough able-bodied people around to care for the elderly, but to sustain that they have to develop their economy. Having been up there a few times, I'm been suprised no one seems to have realized the potential for eco-tourism.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

100% agree with William Bjornson here, the problem isn't a declining birthrate, it is predicating all of a country's economic growth on constant population growth. That is obviously never sustainable.

The world needs FAR fewer people, not more of them. Yes if EVERYONE across the world becomes childfree that could be an issue (for humanity at least), but that is never going to realistically happen. If anything, news about declining population is encouraging to me, as populations return to a more sustainable level for each location. Of course, it terrifies the capitalists who built their entire model on constant growth so they whip up public fervor around increasing the birthrate.

Wracking our brains trying to "fix" the birth rate is trying to find a solution to the wrong problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am a single working mother, the last 2 years that my child was in hokien I did not pay a cent and had I been living in my country I would have paid a few hundred dollars a month.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We are witnessing the rise of Idiocracy before our eyes!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Makes no sense at all. If that named city is then a little bit economically reborn, one or two others , those places where the parents stem from are sinking faster, outbalancing. And if the parents already are from that place, then the three children have probably not much future there and have to move away again anyway.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why not. Good idea. Some people can control such budget. Come on Japanese, time to make real Japanese babies! Not the halfu who might overtake in future like in the West. Okay but does it have to be Niigata girls? And Are they cute without crooked teeth and cute feet?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Not bad, I hope it will work..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then maybe more women would have even ONE child.

See, there's your *problem. You think it's only about the women. It's not only a woman's decision to have a child.

*one of your problems

0 ( +1 / -1 )

P. SmithJuly 19 01:00 pm JST

Why are you assuming only women do housework and take care of children. Rather sexist.

Because in Japan they do.

And you know better than to call me sexist. You're just being contrary for the sake of it. Grow up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Some interesting ideas @girl_in_Tokyo 8:27am as incentive to help Japan’s diminishing population but billions were thrown away on Tokyo’s Games. (Speaking of which, waiting to see your views on “Taiwan cancels dispatch of Audrey Tang to Tokyo Olympics.”) -

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites