Govt eyes child benefit boost for families with multiple children

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo

The government is mulling increasing child benefit for households with multiple children, according to sources.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has vowed to implement “unprecedented measures to deal with the declining birth rate.” An outline of the government’s policy will be compiled by the end of this month.

In addition to increasing child benefit for households with multiple children, the government is also considering removing the income limit and extending the eligibility period for the allowance.

Currently, families with children up to junior high school age can receive child benefit. The government is thinking about extending the allowance for children through high school.

In a draft of the policy outline, child benefit is positioned as “basic financial support for the upbringing of all children who will be responsible for the next generation.” According to the document, the government will consider systems in other countries when reviewing the current framework.

The draft also includes a proposal to eliminate the income limit for child benefit, which has been a focus of discussions. However, some ministers, including Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato, have expressed caution about such a move, so it is not clear whether the measure will be implemented.

The draft does not include specific details such as when the new policy will start or the amount of the increase.

The government intends to provide more details by June when it is scheduled to finalize the “Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform.”

Currently, families can receive ¥10,000-¥15,000 per month per child for children through junior high school, as long neither parent’s income exceeds ¥9.6 million yen.

According to government officials, about ¥400 billion would be required to expand the eligibility of the program to children through the age of 18, and about ¥150 billion would be required to eliminate the income limit.