In 2010, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party introduced child-raising support payments called “kodomo teate.”

These payments replaced a previous child support system and were intended to combat the country’s low birthrate by making it easier for families to raise children in Japan.

Facing massive reconstruction costs after the March 11, 2011 tsunami and earthquake, Japan’s national government revised the kodomo teate law in late 2011, changing payment amounts and eligibility requirements.

The system will continue in revised form in 2012, and many families may still be eligible.

Check below to see if your family qualifies and, if so, how to apply.

Who’s eligible?

In general, parents or guardians, foreign or Japanese, who are living with their children in Japan. The parent with highest income should apply.

Who’s not eligible?

Parents who aren’t living with their children
Parents who don’t normally live in Japan
Parents of children who don’t live in Japan (unless the children are studying abroad temporarily)
Parents who are not enrolled in national or company health insurance or pension plans (kokumin kenko hoken or shakai hoken in Japanese)
Foreign parents who are in Japan on short-stay (tourist) visas

Is there an income restriction?

Yes. Under the old law there was no income restriction.

Under the revised law, from June 2012 families with incomes of over 9.6 million yen are not eligible.

However, even if you earn more than 9.6 million, you can still apply now to receive payments for a few more months in 2012.

How much are the payments?

Until Sepember 2011, ¥13 000/month per child under 15.

From Oct 1, 2011:
* ¥15 000/month for each child under three
* ¥10 000/month for the first two children three or older who haven’t finished elementary school;

* ¥15 000/month for the third or later child in that age range
* ¥10 000/month for junior high school students

Where do I apply?

At the ward or city office where you are registered as a resident.

When should I apply?

As soon as possible.

If you’re eligible, your local government office will calculate payments from the following month.

What do I need to apply?

Application form (available at government offices)
Bankbook or other proof of your bank account information
Your health insurance card or pension book
Your personal seal, if you have one

When will I receive the payments?

In February and June of 2012, paid by bank transfer.

I’ve been receiving payments under the old law. Do I need to reapply?

Yes. Even if you have been receiving the allowance under the old law, you need to re-apply after Oct 1, 2011.

You can re-apply by mail. Your ward office should have sent you forms in October or November of last year.

If you haven’t received them, call.

I’m in the middle of a divorce. My children live with me but my soon-to-be-ex makes more money. Who should apply?

You. In pending divorces, the parent who lives with the children should apply.

Compiled by Annamarie Sasagawa

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