- Japan wants people to move out of Tokyo’s urban areas, and is paying families to do it.
- The country is disbursing R130,000 per child to families who move from metropolitan wards, per Kyodo News.
- Japan’s government is seeking to revitalize the population by spreading out where people live.
- For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za,
The Japanese government, saddled with an aging population and an alarming population decline in the rural areas, is now offering families up to R130,000 per child to move away from Tokyo’s metropolitan area.
The new rule is to be implemented in April, reported local media Kyodo News December 29, citing a person familiar with the matter. The grant is more than triple the previous relocation bonus.
Residents living in Tokyo’s 23 core metropolitan wards and the neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa are eligible for the monetary support if they move out of the metropolitan area, Kyodo News reported.
The new incentive comes on top of the nearly R400,000 that Japanese families can receive if they relocate and start a business, take a job in a small to medium-sized company, or work remotely for their current job, the agency reported.
But there’s a catch: Eligible families have to stay in their new region for five years, and will have to return the money if they move out of the area, per Kyodo News.
Authorities are struggling to keep people from concentrating heavily in Tokyo
An estimated 35.6 million people live in the Greater Tokyo Area, which includes Tokyo and the prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa, according to Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry.
Japanese leaders are struggling to keep the country’s population from concentrating heavily in Tokyo for better job prospects. Around 92% of Japanese people will live in cities in 2021, compared to Japan’s urban population of 63% in 1960. per the latest World Bank data.
The government is looking at reinvigorating its regional economies and population by controlling population inflows into the capital.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration cited concerns that more people were moving into Tokyo’s metropolitan area than there were people moving out, even during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The population redistribution effort has seen Japanese officials concoct various incentives to encourage moving to rural prefectures. For example, the government offered R9,000 homes and tax breaks to entice urban residents to move to abandoned houses in rural “ghost villages,” Insider’s Cheryl Teh and Lina Batarag previously reported.
In another case, the village of Nagoro — moniker a “Scarecrow Village” — only had about 27 residents in 2019, the youngest of whom was 50 years old, CNN reported.
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