All children under 19 to get ¥100,000 handout

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi sign an agreement on a coalition government at the Diet building on Monday.

The government plans to include a cash handout of ¥100,000 for children aged 18 or younger in a large-scale economic stimulus package to be compiled this month, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The government is also working on a plan to give points worth ¥30,000 per person to all holders of My Number identification cards, sources said Friday.

According to government calculations, handouts for an estimated total of 20 million children, from newborns to 18-year-olds, will cost about ¥2 trillion.

The government aims to distribute the handouts by next spring, when kindergarten and school terms start. It plans to allocate about ¥4.5 trillion of surplus funds from fiscal 2020 to fund the handouts.

The economic stimulus package, which is expected to be drawn up as early as Nov. 19, will likely total several tens of trillions of yen. The government and the ruling parties hope to pass by the end of this year a supplementary budget for the current fiscal year that includes funds for the package.

Komeito, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s junior coalition partner, included ¥100,000 cash handouts and a plan to grant points for limited use in education and child-rearing in its campaign pledge for the House of Representatives election.

The LDP, on the other hand, proposed a policy of focusing support mainly on non-regular workers and people in need.

“Providing cash when it is needed is the most appropriate thing to do,” Komeito Vice Representative Kazuo Kitagawa said at a press conference on Thursday.

Regarding cash handouts for non-regular workers and people in need, the ruling parties are working out the details separately from the payout for children.

In April last year, the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to provide ¥100,000 cash handouts per person across-the-board as part of the government’s pandemic response. However, it is thought that the measure had a limited effect on boosting consumption as most of the money went into savings accounts.

By granting points to My Number cardholders, the government aims to expand the use of the card, stimulate consumption and make progress in its digitization initiatives. The about ¥3 trillion needed to fund the system will be included in the economic package.