Japan is set to offer payment to families who move out of the overcrowded capital of Tokyo under a new scheme which would see parents offered one million yen ($7,590) per child to relocate.
Officials in Japan are adding an extra 700,000 yen ($5,314) to the 300,000 yen ($2,277) that was already on offer for relocation to try and tempt more people away from Tokyo amid concerns the country’s population and economy is becoming too concentrated in the capital.
Figures show that 28 percent of Japanese residents (or 35 million people) live in Tokyo or in the surrounding areas.
Residents who live in the 23 districts within Tokyo, as well as those who live on the outskirts, will be able to claim the cash to move.
There are around 1,300 municipalities signed up for residents to relocate to.
To qualify, residents must live in the new area for at least five years and remain in employment – if they fail to do so they will be ordered to pay the money back.
The cash is paid to families who have children under the age of 18 or 18 provided they are still in high school.
Residents will be paid to move out of the overcrowded capital.
This isn’t the first time the country has attempted to get residents to leave the capital, but, so far, it’s not been a resounding success.
According to The Times, only 2,381 have taken up a similar relocation scheme since 2019 – but it’s hoped more people might consider it now the financial package on offer is more attractive.
Alongside concerns about the economy, Japanese officials are also worried about to mitigate the impact risk of an earthquake.
In 2019, Japan’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion said there was a 47 percent chance Tokyo would be hit by an earthquake within the next 30 years.
Relocation schemes have been running for several years with Tokyo, causing buildings to sway, public transport to grind to a halt and sporadic power cuts. Thankfully, there were no fatalities in the earthquake.
The Meteorological Agency said the quake was centred in the Chiba region, to the of Tokyo.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida posted on Twitter telling residents to ‘check the latest information and take action to protect your lives’.
Earthquakes are not unusual in Japan, as it’s located on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ – one of the world’s most seismically active areas.