With the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida working to come up with “unprecedented” measures to raise the nation’s sluggish birthrate, local governments are also racing to draw up their boldest steps ever for child-rearing under budgets for the fiscal year starting in April.
While the local government moves might appear to be an encouraging step toward improvement, they are also giving rise to concerns about regional gaps in support measures.
The national government has set up a program to provide benefits worth a total of ¥100,000 per baby for pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, the ruling and opposition camps are discussing, as centerpieces of the envisioned measures, proposals to abolish the upper limits on parents’ incomes for receiving existing child benefits and raise the age of children eligible for the aid, with the government set to present a draft in late March.
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