Newlyweds in Japan will soon be able to get up to 600,000 yen, or almost $5,700, to help them start their life together. That’s up from 300,000 yen, or about $2,800.
From April 2021, the grant will be given to couples in which both people are under 40 and have a shared income of up to 5.4 million yen, or about $51,000. Under the old rules it was couples under 35, making a shared income of up to 4.8 million yen, or about $45,000. The money can be used to pay rent and other household costs.
To get the grant, couples will also have to live in an area taking part in the government support program. Only 15% of Japan’s cities, towns and villages have been taking part in the program, and the national government wants to increase that number by paying for two-thirds of the costs instead of the half it had been paying.
In 2019, Japan reported a record low birth rate with 864,000 babies born, a decrease of 54,000 from 2018. One of the reasons for the country’s low birth rate could be that people in Japan either marry later in life, or don’t marry at all.
According to a survey done in 2015 by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, 43% of men and 42% of women said not having enough money was the biggest thing preventing them from getting married. The same survey found that the cost of having children was the biggest reason couples didn’t have as many children as they wanted to.