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Japan weighs incentivizing childbirth by fully covering expenses

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J Govt solution to problem, think money will solve problem.

Check again how many companies really allow maternal and paternal leave in Japan.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Work/Japan-to-require-more-companies-to-share-paternity-leave-data

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Some father even get demotion for taking the leave.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/japan-fathers-paternity-leave-sue-asics-a9105041.html

-8 ( +13 / -21 )

not apropos childbirth, but..... " people basically pay 10 to 30 percent of medical costs "

who pays 10%. anyone know or have experience of same?  used to be that retirees (or maybe those who hit 70) paid that, but they upped that to 20% some years back. just wondering....

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The solution to a declining total fertility rate is a major change in the work-life balance

18 ( +18 / -0 )

I could never understand why childbirth and everything included in it was not covered by health insurance. Sure you are not sick, but you are seeing a medical professional and staying in a hospital. Also the payout comes after the baby is born but for many people the out of pocket costs are quite high and might be a disincentive to having children. Also I doubt a few people in Kumamoto who are profiting from having babies are worried about the loss of money.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Half-bake solution, typical of incompetent politicians, "let the people see I'm working".

Work/life balance doesn't mean anything if families are struggling, why should I go home when I can work more and increase my company's success and my future salary ?

First step solution is to grant every newborn one million yen in investment account until they're 18 years old. That's at least 18 million yen. You can only take it out only for higher education (~6 million), marriage (~2 million), and/or buying a house (~10 million down payment). This alone will wipe any worries about "my children won't have a good future".

Who pays for it ? The government has been granting billions to Asian countries, that won't be a problem.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

30 years too late.

The burden on these babies when they grow up to take care of the masses (more than 50% of the population will be elderly) seems not only unfair but totally selfish.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

The government currently provides a lump-sum payment of 500,000 yen for each childbirth, …

… the national average [for childbirth costs was] 503,000 yen as of May 2023.

Japan already covers virtually all childbirth expenses if the country provides a lump-sum payment of 500,000 yen for each childbirth and the national average for childbirth costs is 503,000 yen.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Getting a little tired of hearing about one half measure after another

0 ( +6 / -6 )

FINALLY!!

We have been saying, why not make childbirth free like most other developed nations for years!

It's the most obvious first step to increase childbirth so why has it taken soooo long?

Old-man govt syndrome.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

diagonalslipToday  07:22 am JST

not apropos childbirth, but..... " people basically pay 10 to 30 percent of medical costs "

who pays 10%. anyone know or have experience of same? used to be that retirees (or maybe those who hit 70) paid that, but they upped that to 20% some years back. just wondering....

I don't think there are many 70 years having babies sir.

How much did you pay for your children's births, if not 10%-30%?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

it's not just money that will encourage couples to have kids. It's an entire overhaul of the system. We probably know what they are. I will just say that living in Japan, especially in the city and working under a Japanese work culture doesn't exactly give one enough leeway to have a life outside of work.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I suspect the expenses do not end with childbirth.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Desert TortoiseToday  07:27 am JST

The solution to a declining total fertility rate is a major change in the work-life balance

i used to think like this but actually Work-life balance is probably not really the cause. Japan, Germany, and Italy have very different work-life balances but the same low fertility rate of 1.3.

In addition, the work-life balance was even worse after WWII because the Japanese rebuilt their country from ashes and were working even more than now. Yet, Japan had a baby boom with an average of 5 kids per family.

The fall in fertility happens everywhere in the developed world and is the result of a lack of hope about the future and the idea that having a family is just one choice among other.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The cost of childbirth in Japan?

"400,000 to 600,000 yen for delivery, depending on the hospital. If you have health insurance, you will receive 420,000 yen as a childbirth lump-sum allowance."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As said above, major change in the work-life balance is necessary and I add school free of fees until high school and more helps for university cost.

In France, public university fees per year are only 50 000 yens!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The cost of childbirth is just an amuse bouche before all the real expenses begin. Here's an idea – how about making K-12 public education an attractive and completely accessible option, so that families of any income bracket can give their children a decent education without having to throw huge amounts of money at the cram school/private education racket?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Welcome to the 21st century. It is about time to fund childbirth if the country wants to increase the birthrate. Also, decrease the number of days for the mother and child to stay in the hospital and implement some of the ideas mentioned above.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Childbirth should be free.

School should be completely free, including all materials.

School should be from 8:30 until 3:30 every weekday, without half days.

The standard working day should be approximately 9-5.

There should be serious investments in play spaces and activities for children.

But fundamentally, the whole situation would be easier to deal with if there was more flexibility in working patterns- no stigma related to changing jobs and decent wages for part-time jobs that enable you to support a young family. Both parents can thus earn money, but they can still be there for the children.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Anyone saying the government shouldn't make childbirth completely free should note that there is private maternity clinic industry in Japan which, at the high end, offers hotel like services like private rooms, French food, hairdressing, nail art, yoga, etc. as part of the package. Most Japanese already go in for a full week, something unheard of in some advanced countries.

I think the system as is is very good, you get a lump sum that will cover a standard birth and if you want extras, you pay for them yourself. Note that it is actually risky for an older woman or someone with complications to give birth at a maternity clinic, because they have no ER services. If something goes wrong, they'll simply call an ambulance.

fwiw, all my kids were born at a maternity clinic with us in a private room. No French food or aromatherapy though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

kishida and co really are barking up the wrong tree. You have to focus on helping people AFTER they give birth, it all seems to be about before, parents need help throughout the process. How about lower tax levels for families or payments that actually can help with daily life?

¥10k per child per month is not going to pay for more than a few days. Stop focusing on those who don’t have children only..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

400,000 to 600,000 yen for delivery, depending on the hospital. If you have health insurance, you will receive 420,000 yen as a childbirth lump-sum

Every Japanese has health insurance.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Bemidji

400,000 to 600,000 yen for delivery, depending on the hospital. If you have health insurance, you will receive 420,000 yen as a childbirth lump-sum

Every Japanese has health insurance.

Every Japanese does not have health insurance and it does not cover the cost of childbirth.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

METATTOKYOToday  08:35 am JST

diagonalslipToday  07:22 am JST

not apropos childbirth, but..... " people basically pay 10 to 30 percent of medical costs "

who pays 10%. anyone know or have experience of same? used to be that retirees (or maybe those who hit 70) paid that, but they upped that to 20% some years back. just wondering....

I don't think there are many 70 years having babies sir.

How much did you pay for your children's births, if not 10%-30%?

seems you didn't read what I wrote....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When people consider whether to have kids or not, paying for the birth is probably not one of the major concerns. Rather than that, being stuck in a low paid irregular work as a dispatch worker with little prospects of increased pay, while paying for your kids education is probably a bigger concern.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

MoskolloToday  09:40 am JST

kishida and co really are barking up the wrong tree. You have to focus on helping people AFTER they give birth, it all seems to be about before, parents need help throughout the process. How about lower tax levels for families or payments that actually can help with daily life?

¥10k per child per month is not going to pay for more than a few days. Stop focusing on those who don’t have children only..

That sounds like a plan for disaster. What you essentially want is for the taxpayer to fully subsidize a child's life from age 0-18. Just how much do you think that would cost in taxes?

I agree with 100% subsidizing the cost of childbirth, but after that, the family should be in charge of paying for the child, not the taxpayer. Having the funds to do that falls under the responsibility of the parents.

A better way would be to restructure the welfare system and lower taxes so that even single and childless people are able to save up to have enough for the family.

The problem starts with people in their early 20s getting overworked and getting paid meager wages (less than 240,000/mo). They don't have the time or the money to start a family. The problem doesn't start with a couple that has already gotten married and is ready for children.

Instead of basically giving a UBI only to mothers, there should be a UBI given out to everyone in society equally so they can use it how they see fit (Healthcare expenses, childrearing, dates, weddings, tuition fees, purchasing a home for the family, etc)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As said above: work-life balance needs to be fixed and maternity/paternity more widely accepted as the norm (maybe make it law).

If you have private insurance with regular health insurance, costs are minimal, if not zero. Yes, all this is for those who can afford it, so making it free across the board is a decent step forward after the above is accomplished with it.

Sadly, this won't save the decline but may help some.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

diagonalslipToday  10:04 am JST

METATTOKYOToday  08:35 am JST

diagonalslipToday  07:22 am JST

not apropos childbirth, but..... " people basically pay 10 to 30 percent of medical costs "

who pays 10%. anyone know or have experience of same? used to be that retirees (or maybe those who hit 70) paid that, but they upped that to 20% some years back. just wondering....

I don't think there are many 70 years having babies sir.

How much did you pay for your children's births, if not 10%-30%?

seems you didn't read what I wrote....

To be honest it was a bit unclear.

In relation to the 10-30% that parents have to pay you said; 'who pays 10%'? Suggesting that, for reasons I don;t understand, you think some people do not pay 10% to have a baby.

Then you said something about people over 70 not paying 10% for childbirth either.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This seems to be solving a problem that doesn't really exist, at least from my experience. Most municipalities have their own lump-sum payments to cover what insurance, national or private, does not. Here in Okayama, both of my children were delivered at no out-of-pocket cost to me. I have private insurance and what it did not cover, Okayama city did - delivery, hospital stay, pre- and post checkups...etc. In fact, since both of them were c-sections, we actually got money back because a c-section is considered "surgery." I think we got around 300,000 back each time. My insurance also gave us 出産祝い (childbirth gifts) - vouchers for diapers and whatnot and reimbursed me for the car seat. Okayama city gave us two years worth of free garbage bags - we have to buy bags from the city for garbage (300 yen for 10 x 30 liters) - but they gave us two cases.

As others have said, I'd rather see money spent on quality of life measures. But, not for the parents, for the children. Build new kindergarten and school buildings, get new items in the school. Some of the desks in my kids' school are older than me. More teachers, smaller classes...don't just focus on making adults' lives easier. I think one reason a lot of people aren't having children is because they did not particularly enjoy their own childhoods and don't want to visit that experience onto their own children.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Anyone that has been to a Japanese school will notice the lack of facilities and the spartan feel of the buildings.

Japan has the lowest OECD spend of any member despite having a massive economy.

Piecemeal measures by ‘expert panels’ will have no effect in a society which doesn’t value its youth.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

collegepark30349Today  11:19 am JST

This seems to be solving a problem that doesn't really exist, at least from my experience. Most municipalities have their own lump-sum payments to cover what insurance, national or private, does not. Here in Okayama, both of my children were delivered at no out-of-pocket cost to me. I have private insurance and what it did not cover, Okayama city did - delivery, hospital stay, pre- and post checkups...etc. In fact, since both of them were c-sections, we actually got money back because a c-section is considered "surgery." I think we got around 300,000 back each time. My insurance also gave us 出産祝い (childbirth gifts) - vouchers for diapers and whatnot and reimbursed me for the car seat. Okayama city gave us two years worth of free garbage bags - we have to buy bags from the city for garbage (300 yen for 10 x 30 liters) - but they gave us two cases.

As others have said, I'd rather see money spent on quality of life measures. But, not for the parents, for the children. Build new kindergarten and school buildings, get new items in the school. Some of the desks in my kids' school are older than me. More teachers, smaller classes...don't just focus on making adults' lives easier. I think one reason a lot of people aren't having children is because they did not particularly enjoy their own childhoods and don't want to visit that experience onto their own children.

Do all parents get the payment back from the local govt?

If they are, why doesn't the hospital just charge the local govt in the first place so parents don't have to find the cash to have a baby?!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Childbirth is not covered by the National Health.

The parents pay the full fees and the local government reimburses a large portion of the fees. None of it comes from the Health system.

Many hospitals will make arrangements with the new parent's overpayment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No income taxes for the under 30 will help greatly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

wallaceToday  11:54 am JST

Childbirth is not covered by the National Health.

The parents pay the full fees and the local government reimburses a large portion of the fees. None of it comes from the Health system.

Many hospitals will make arrangements with the new parent's overpayment.

So Japanese parents have to get the cash only to get it back weeks or months later?!

We didn't get reimbursed for all the expensive scans and consultations we had when we were pregnant - sometimes 1 man at a time.

So we went to NZ and didn't have to pay a cent for anything, including 3 weeks in a hospital hotel (there were complications with the baby).

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

METATTOKYO

wallace

Childbirth is not covered by the National Health.

> The parents pay the full fees and the local government reimburses a large portion of the fees. None of it comes from the Health system.

> Many hospitals will make arrangements with the new parent's overpayment.

> So Japanese parents have to get the cash only to get it back weeks or months later?!

Hospitals will make arrangements with payments.

We didn't get reimbursed for all the expensive scans and consultations we had when we were pregnant - sometimes 1 man at a time.

I believe those would be covered by the National Health.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

METATTOKYO

So we went to NZ and didn't have to pay a cent for anything, including 3 weeks in a hospital hotel (there were complications with the baby).

The cost of moving to NZ would have been at least 5-10 higher than paying for childbirth here.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

wallaceToday  12:30 pm JST

METATTOKYO

So we went to NZ and didn't have to pay a cent for anything, including 3 weeks in a hospital hotel (there were complications with the baby).

The cost of moving to NZ would have been at least 5-10 higher than paying for childbirth here.

Well, yeah, I mean, you know, there were a multitude of reasons we went to New Zealand to have our family, but certainly, the fact that childbirth, maternity care, and child health are entirely free was one of them.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

METATTOKYO

wallace

So we went to NZ and didn't have to pay a cent for anything, including 3 weeks in a hospital hotel (there were complications with the baby).

The cost of moving to NZ would have been at least 5-10 higher than paying for childbirth here.

Well, yeah, I mean, you know, there were a multitude of reasons we went to New Zealand to have our family, but certainly, the fact that childbirth, maternity care, and child health are entirely free was one of them.

What are the monthly payments for national health insurance and pensions?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Helping out future generations is welcomed. But how about helping parents who already have children? Childbirth is expensive but it doesn't compare to raising a child.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@collegepark30349  11:19 am JST

Wow! Your comment should be selected as “Post of the Week”! What an informative account from the “frontline”!

Thank you for taking the time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

METATTOKYO

Do all parents get the payment back from the local govt?

Just check with your local ward or city office. When Mrs. College Park and I went to get the 親子手帳 (after the OBGYN confirms your pregnancy and gives you the form), the folks at Okayama city hall gave us a big file full of applications, coupons, vouchers...all the information we'd need. Plus the little tag to put on our car for special parking, seating on the busses and trains and what not. Look on the website of wherever it is you live. Also check with your private insurance company if you have one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

collegepark30349Today  02:42 pm JST

METATTOKYO

Do all parents get the payment back from the local govt?

Just check with your local ward or city office. When Mrs. College Park and I went to get the 親子手帳 (after the OBGYN confirms your pregnancy and gives you the form), the folks at Okayama city hall gave us a big file full of applications, coupons, vouchers...all the information we'd need. Plus the little tag to put on our car for special parking, seating on the busses and trains and what not. Look on the website of wherever it is you live. Also check with your private insurance company if you have one.

It all sounds so horribly inefficient, though - all that paperwork, time and effort for you and the city hall staff - just make it free for everyone and be done with it!

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

wallace

> So we went to NZ and didn't have to pay a cent for anything, including 3 weeks in a hospital hotel (there were complications with the baby).

> The cost of moving to NZ would have been at least 5-10 higher than paying for childbirth here.

> Well, yeah, I mean, you know, there were a multitude of reasons we went to New Zealand to have our family, but certainly, the fact that childbirth, maternity care, and child health are entirely free was one of them.

> What are the monthly payments for national health insurance and pensions?

There are no monthly payments or insurance for healthcare (except accident care, which is also free but there is a mandatory small contribution)

The govt covers it completely, so we don't even have to think about it. There is no pension payment either. It's all part of income tax, which is not too high in NZ.

The only problem is we have a rising population from immigration but limited healthcare professionals - most of them are from overseas these days (e.g. UK, Europe, US, Philippines, etc.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Find me one couple, just one, not having kids because of the medical costs of birth. Especially when as this report states, they are already covered to ¥500,000.

Women are putting off child bearing because they don't want to give up their present life to become mothers.

There are laws to allow mothers back into the work place but in many instances the work culture does not.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Mr KiplingToday  03:08 pm JST

Find me one couple, just one, not having kids because of the medical costs of birth. Especially when as this report states, they are already covered to ¥500,000.

Find me one couple who chooses to have kids for one reason.

Women are putting off child bearing because they don't want to give up their present life to become mothers.

Yes, this is another factor for some, but not all women.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

METATTOKYOToday  03:14 pm JST

Mr KiplingToday  03:08 pm JST

Find me one couple, just one, not having kids because of the medical costs of birth. Especially when as this report states, they are already covered to ¥500,000.

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Find me one couple who chooses to have kids for one reason.

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Women are putting off child bearing because they don't want to give up their present life to become mothers.

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Yes, this is another factor for some, but not all women.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan needs to solve this perceived problem by making it easier for families to exist.

It isn't just about childbirth. The next 20 yrs will have expenses and great challenges for all families. Time off work for life events, flexible schedules, childcare, after school programs, getting healthy foods. Maybe companies with over 20 employees need to cover 90% of childcare costs? For larger companies, having internal child care would be less expensive than paying to subsidize.

It isn't 1 single thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Having kids and dedicating Time to look after them is just too much hassle for today’s youth. Finding work and keeping it, is probably more at the forefront of people’s minds these days.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If normal delivery becomes covered, the current lump-sum childbirth allowance will likely end, which may disappoint households who could have benefited from extra income if delivery costs were below 500,000 yen.

One can earn a lump-sum childbirth allowance and abandon the baby in a coin locker or public toilet. Endure pregnancy to get money. Get cash, stash then dash.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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