Japan's government has recently announced a new incentive to address the country's population decline. From April 2022, families moving out of the greater Tokyo region will be eligible to receive ¥1m ($7,500) per child. This is a dramatic increase from the previous relocation fee of ¥300,000, and is part of official efforts to reduce Tokyo's population density, encourage people to move to less populous areas, and stimulate economic activity in those regions.
The scheme is available to families living in the 23 "core" wards of Tokyo and the neighbouring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa. To receive the benefit, families must move outside the greater Tokyo area, and may also be eligible for up to ¥3m in financial support. Eligibility requires that the family live in their new home for at least five years, and that one member of the household must be employed or planning to open a new business.
80% of all municipalities in Japan have signed up to the scheme, which is designed to take advantage of the shift in public attitudes towards quality of life that has taken place during the pandemic. The government is hoping that 10,000 people will have relocated from Tokyo to rural areas by 2027.
So far, 1,184 families have relocated as part of the scheme in 2021, compared with 71 in 2019 and 290 in 2020. This is likely due to the country's low birth rate of 1.3 children per woman, and the continuing growth of its over-65 population. Japan's overall population is expected to decline from 125 million to an estimated 88 million in 2065.