The Japanese government is willing to pay families currently residing in Tokyo one million yen (256,844 Thai baht) per child to find new homes elsewhere in the country, in a move to distribute its younger citizens more evenly across the country. The goal is to improve declining birth rates, diversify aging populations in more rural areas, and scatter dense populations in Japan’s metropolitan areas. Although a large number of Tokyo’s population has decreased as a result of the pandemic, the government believes more should be done to lower the population in Tokyo.
In 2021, 29% of Japan’s total population was at least 65 years old—the highest record for the country—according to the Statistics Bureau of Japan. At the same time, the nation recorded the lowest percentage of 0-14 year olds at 12%.
The population redistribution incentive will be eligible for people living in 23 districts across Tokyo as well as in neighboring commuter-belt prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa. According to Kyodo news agency, families must move outside of the greater Tokyo area in order to receive the payment. Families will also be required to live in their new region for at least five years while being employed, otherwise, they’ll be asked to return the money. Support is provided for children under 18 years old or those who are 18 but still in their final year of high school.
An earlier iteration of the scheme was launched three years ago with the government offering 300,000 yen per child for families relocating to less dense areas of the country. In 2021, a total of 1,184 families received the subsidy, compared to 71 in 2019 and 290 in 2020.
With the newest policy, the government is hoping 10,000 citizens will move out from Tokyo to rural areas by 2027.