Japan has seen a declining birth rate for quite some time. According to a report in the newspaper Japan today.
Currently, a one-time allowance for childbirth and child care worth 420,000 yen (Rs 252,338) is provided to new parents after the birth of a child. Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, Katsunobu Kato wishes to raise that figure to 500,000 yen (Rs 3,00,402). According to Japan Today, he spoke by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last week to discuss the plan that is likely to be approved and put into effect for fiscal year 2023.
While an increased benefit amount of this magnitude is unlikely to deter anyone from wanting to have children, it’s not a very strong motivator either. According to the source, the cost of childbirth is paid out of the individual’s own pocket even though the allowance is called the ‘One-time Allowance for Childbirth and Child Care’ and is supported by the insurance system Japanese public health. Domestic delivery costs are around 473,000 yen. On average, parents will only have 30,000 yen left when they return home from the hospital even if the allowance is increased.
The 80,000 yen increase will be the largest ever increase for the One-time Allowance for Childbirth and Childcare and the first since 2009, according to the outlet.
According to government data released in 2021, Japan has had the fewest births in more than a century. The figure raises concerns about the long-term effects of population decline, which has long plagued policymakers and the country’s political discourse. According to Reuters, the country recorded 811,604 births and 1439,809 deaths last year, resulting in a population decline of 628,205 – the largest natural decline since data became available.
An official from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare told Jiji Press that the drop in the birth rate last year was due to a decrease in the number of women of childbearing age as well as the birth rate of women in their 20s.
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