Japan has been witnessing a declining birth rate for quite some time now. The country’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is hoping that the promise of some more money will help people add a kid to their family, according to a report in Japan Today.
At the moment, Childbirth and Childcare Lump-Sum Grant of 420,000 yen (Rs 2,52,338) is offered to new parents after the birth of the child. The Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Katsunobu Kato wishes to raise that figure to 500,000 yen (Rs 3,00,402). According to Japan Today, he spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last week to discuss the plan, which is likely to be accepted and put into effect for the 2023 fiscal year.
Although a grant amount increase of this magnitude is unlikely to deter anyone from wanting children, it could not be a very strong incentive either. According to the outlet, the child delivery fee is covered out of the individual’s pocket even though the grant is known as ‘Childbirth and Childcare Lump-Sum Grant’ and is supported by Japan’s public medical insurance system. The delivery costs in the country are approximately 473,000 yen. Parents would only have, on average, 30,000 yen left over when they get home from the hospital even if the grant was increased.
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The 80,000 yen increase would be the largest increase ever for the Childbirth and Childcare Lump-Sum Grant and the first since 2009, as per the outlet.
According to government data released in 2021, Japan had the fewest births in more than a century. The figure stoked fears about the long-term implications of population decline, which has long been a source of concern in the country’s policy circles and political discourse. According to Reuters, the country recorded 8,11,604 births and 14,39,809 deaths last year, resulting in a population decline of 6,28,205- the largest natural decline since data became available.
A Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare official told Jiji Press that the decline in the fertility rate last year was caused by a decrease in the number of women of childbearing age as well as the fertility rate of women in their twenties.
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