Marriage Support Staff to Be Assigned Across Japan

The Japan News
A flower girl is seen at a wedding in Tokyo.

The children and families agency to be launched in April plans to strengthen projects that help people wanting to get married, as part of measures to address the declining birthrate.

The agency will expand a financial assistance program for newly married households to subsidize rent and moving costs in order to help reduce their financial burden, in addition to appointing knowledgeable “marriage support concierges” to prefectures. The agency will also launch special webpages that explain the support measures offered by each municipality.

Financial assistance for newly married households was provided by 634 municipalities as of October 2022. The agency will raise the household income limit for receiving such assistance from under ¥4 million to under ¥5 million, and increase the amount of assistance offered.

As for the concierges, people well versed and experienced in marriage support will be assigned to the job. They will connect people involved in support projects in local communities and respond to inquiries from municipalities. They will be assigned as full-time staff to the prefectures, with the central government picking up three-fourths of the costs of their employment.

The envisaged special webpages will be set up on the agency’s website and provide people considering marriage with simple descriptions of support measures provided by municipalities as well as other information. They will also introduce successful examples of support measures so that municipalities can use them as a reference in formulating their own policies.

Fewer marriages is often cited as one of the reasons for Japan’s declining birthrate, as marriage is strongly tied to childbirth.