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Money to Move: Families Offered Millions in Yen to Relocate From Tokyo to Rural Areas

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Japan plans to boost financial support to households to move away from the capital to combat depopulation in other areas of the country, according to multiple local media reports.

Eligible families in the Tokyo metropolitan area will be able to receive 1 million yen ($7,700) per child starting in the fiscal year 2023 if they move to a disadvantaged local area — more than triple the 300,000 yen incentive already in place, the reports said.

The financial incentives highlight the challenges that Japan is facing with its low birth rate and long life expectancy. Rural areas have seen rapid depopulation as the young move away for opportunities in cities, leaving the localities dotted with empty homes and contending with dwindling tax revenue.

The increased support for children comes on top of a flat 1 million yen that families can get for moving. Under the new proposal, a household with two children could receive 3 million yen in support if they left the Tokyo area.

Japan’s national government began the initiative to attract people to regional areas in 2019, allowing households who have lived in the central Tokyo metropolitan area for five years to apply for support funds if they move.

Families can continue to work remotely at their current job, work at a local small or medium sized business, or start a business in the local area — which would allow them to apply for even more financial support.

The scheme saw 1,184 household participants in 2021, compared to 71 the first year it launched, according to the Nikkei.

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