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Japan Offering Citizens Money to Move Out of Tokyo

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  • The Regional Revitalisation Migration Support project is aimed at reducing population concentration in the capital area. The earlier amount fixed at 3,00,000 yen has now been doubled.
  • Goal: The move aims to achieve the goal of a vibrant local community and also correct the over concentration in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
  • Apart from incentivizing people, other plans include improving ties with local communities, creating a profitable economy, and promoting a work-life balance focused on peace of mind.


Reasons for Encouraging People to Leave Tokyo Metropolitan Area

  • Declining rural population: Japan released a revised version of a policy in 2019 for revitalising its towns, people, and jobs.
    • The document says that the total population of Japan will decrease to around 90 million in 2060. This will impact the current and future state of the country.
  • Tackle effects of rural-urban emigration: The number of local community members has decreased sharply in rural communities as a result of rural-to-urban migration.
    • This has shrunk the local and small-scale economic opportunities, setting off an adverse chain reaction.
    • Once people move out and local economies decline, it becomes difficult to maintain essential life services in these areas, and the region loses its charm and functionality.
  • Overconcentration of resources: Tokyo metropolitan area is overpopulated. The overconcentration of the population and economy in Tokyo makes the nation vulnerable to loss in case it gets hit by disasters such as earthquakes.
    • In order to encourage people to move out and settle in rural areas, a lucrative sum is being offered.
  • Reduce pressure on Tokyo: People moving out of Tokyo metropolitan will ease pressure on space and public services in greater Tokyo.


Who are the Beneficiaries of the Project?

  • People living or working in the 23 wards of Tokyo (including the disadvantaged areas within Tokyo) can move out of the Tokyo metropolitan area and start a business or work using the money.
  • People who have stayed in the 23 wards of Tokyo or in the Tokyo metropolitan area (excluding disadvantaged areas) for a total of five years or more in the last 10 years can apply for the subsidy.
    • The applicants need to have lived or commuted in the 23 wards of Tokyo, at least for the past one year.
    • The period of commuting to schools is also counted under this project for people who lived in the metropolitan area (excluding disadvantaged areas) and commuted to schools and universities in the 23 wards.
  • Other Eligibility Criteria:
    •  The families must live in the new area for at least five years
    • One member of the family must be employed in the service sector or start a business there in order to be eligible for financial support.
    • Families who relocate to big cities before the five-year period ends must return the money.



  • De-urbanisation or counter-urbanisation is a process where people move from urban areas to rural areas. This can be due to various factors.
  • Drivers of de-urbanisation:
    • Digitization: With the development of communications technology, people from rural communities can work remotely without having to relocate to urban areas.
    • Cost of living: High cost of living in urban areas has forced people to relocate to rural and semi-rural areas.
    • Decentralized growth: In many developed countries, growth is being decentralized. More opportunities are emerging in rural areas, away from usual urban centres.
    • Decline in quality of living: People living in poorer areas of cities are forced to tolerate inhuman living conditions. The level of pollution has increased tremendously, affecting their quality of life.
  • Potential benefits of de-urbanisation:
    • Population distribution: The population of the country will be distributed equally among rural and urban areas. This will reduce crowding of cities.
    • Public service delivery: The government will be able to improve quality of public service in urban areas as population will be in acceptable range. Ex: Providing water and electricity connection to all houses.
  • Concerns associated:
    • Lack of services: Rural areas are still devoid of many essential services such as education and healthcare.
    • Lack of infrastructure: Essential infrastructures such as roads, power and gas are yet to achieve universal coverage, especially in rural areas.

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