Japan Offering Reward for Migrating Out of Tokyo

In an attempt to revitalize areas with shrinking demographics and reduce density in Japan’s main city, Japan’s government is offering ¥1M ($7.5K) per child to families who leave Tokyo and move to less populated regions.

Japan Offering Reward for Migrating Out of Tokyo
Image credit: AP

Facts

  • In an attempt to revitalize areas with shrinking demographics and reduce density in Japan’s main city, Japan’s government is offering ¥1M ($7.5K) per child to families who leave Tokyo and move to less populated regions.
  • The current program, in which the government pays families ¥300K ($2,291 USD) to make the move, has achieved growing success, with annual household relocations jumping from 71 to 290 between 2019 and 2020, and again to 1,184 in 2021.
  • The incentives apply to people currently residing in the 23 core wards of Tokyo, and program participants must move to a host municipality outside the greater Tokyo area. People may also move to low-density mountainous areas of Tokyo.
  • Families' children have to be under the age of 18 — or 18 if in the final year of high school — and must also live in their new municipality for at least five years. Moving out before five years will result in the recipients returning their payments.
  • Other requirements include employment at a small or midsize company in the area of relocation, continuing existing work remotely, or starting a new business in the place of residence. A couple with two children that starts a business could receive up to ¥5m ($38,302).
  • Japan is experiencing birth rates of 1.3 children — far below the 2.1 children required to maintain its present population size — with the nation's population falling by 644K people from 2020-21 and current trends projecting the total population to fall from 125M to 88M by 2065. The government hopes 10K people will have moved to rural areas by 2027.

Sources: Guardian, Breitbart, Kyodo, and Fortune.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Bloomberg. Japan’s population is in crisis as birth rates continue to stay catastrophically low and the population rapidly shrinks. Communities are being hollowed out, and even Tokyo is experiencing a population loss. As fertility issues are nation-specific and no single solution exists, Japan’s government must try whatever it can to increase families and birthrates, or else the consequences will be massive.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Japan Times. Japan’s shrinking population, especially in rural areas, is not as big of a problem as it initially seems. While the current mindset is focused on growth at all costs, there is a positive aspect to downsizing and slowing down the pace of life. As the country has failed in its attempts to reverse fertility issues for decades now, rural areas in Japan are simply learning how to adapt. Scaling down can be correlated to happiness.