Japan Looking To Increase Lump-Sum Childbirth Benefit

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The central government is considering increasing the lump-sum childbirth allowance from the current ¥420,000 per child to reduce the burden on child-rearing households, informed sources said Friday.

The cost of hospitalization for childbirth in Japan continues to rise, especially in major cities, with the national average now exceeding the childbirth allowance.

As benefits based on the health insurance law, ¥420,000 is provided in principle at the time of childbirth. Excluding premiums under the compensation system for childbirth mishaps, the lump-sum allowance is ¥408,000.

Childbirth costs at public hospitals averaged ¥443,776 in fiscal 2019, including ¥536,884 in Tokyo, according to a survey by the health ministry.

Earlier this month, a group of lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party called for raising the allowance to at least around ¥450,000.

The heavy economic burden from childbirth costs is one of reasons for the declining birthrate in Japan, the LDP group said in a proposal submitted to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Kishida, also president of the LDP, told a parliamentary meeting on Thursday that it is important to increase childbirth benefits.

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