Japan’s government is offering a new incentive for families to move out of the overcrowded capital of Tokyo in an effort to revitalize countryside towns and boost the falling birth rate.
Starting in April, families in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including single-parent households, will be eligible to receive 1 million yen (10,000 CAD) per child if they move to less-populated areas across the country.
This is not the first time the government has attempted to address the issue of overcrowding in Tokyo and a shrinking population in the rest of Japan.
Past incentives, however, have been ineffective. In an effort to increase the incentive’s effectiveness, the government is now offering 1 million yen per child to families who move from the Tokyo region to almost anywhere else in Japan for at least five years.
The incentives apply to children aged under 18 or dependents aged 18 and over if they are still attending high school.
Additionally, the new subsidy will come on top of the approximately $30,000 in relocation support payments already available to those who start a business, get a local job, or work remotely from a new community.
For decades, people across Japan have migrated to urban centers such as Tokyo in search of job opportunities.
As a result, Tokyo has become the country’s most populous city with roughly 37 million residents.
However, with the country’s overall population, one of the world’s oldest, recording its biggest-ever natural decline in 2021 and a record low birth rate, something needs to be done to address the issue.
Cities and towns in Japan’s countryside are aging and shrinking the fastest, which is depleting their tax base, shuttering schools and leaving many municipalities on the brink of extinction.
With the new incentives, the government hopes to attract families to move to these areas and help revitalize them.