Arab News Japan
DUBAI: In an effort to boost Japan’s falling birth rates and revitalize countryside towns, the Asian country is paying families to move out of overcrowded Tokyo.
In April, the Japanese Government will make families in the capital eligible to receive 1 million yen ($7,700) per child if they move to less-populated areas across Japan. This also includes families headed by single parents.
Those who commute to Tokyo from Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures are also eligible.
The incentives apply to children aged under 18, or dependents 18 and over if they’re still attending high school.
The Japanese government has previously offered an incentive of 300,000 yen (about $2,240) per child last year, however, decided to increase the relocation fee in an effort to make the offer more attractive.
Many Japanese residents relocate to Tokyo in hopes of better job opportunities.
According to government data, the average monthly income for someone working in Tokyo was 373,600 yen (about $2,780) in 2020.
Before the Covid pandemic, the number of people moving into Tokyo outnumbered those leaving the city by up to 80,000 each year.
The migration pattern has left countryside towns with fewer residents and many unoccupied homes. According to a national census, more than half of Japan’s municipalities are expected to be named underpopulated areas in 2022.
Under Japan’s new plan, those who have lived and worked in Tokyo for at least five years could receive 600,000 yen ($4,500) if they moved to rural areas. That incentive is higher for couples, at 1 million yen ($7,700).
A government spokesperson said those who relocate could simply work in that rural area while working remotely at their Tokyo-based jobs or set up their own businesses.
“Tokyo has a very high concentration of people, and the government wants to increase the flow of people to the regional areas to revitalize areas with declining populations,” he added.