Japan releases more details of costs to combat low birth rate

Japan on Thursday released more details on planned fees to be added to public health insurance premiums to secure funding to combat the country's low birth rate.

Participants in this kokumin kenkō hoken The public health insurance plan for the self-employed and others is expected to pay ¥800 ($5) a month if they have an annual income of ¥6 million by fiscal year 2028, said Ayuko Kato, Minister for Children's Policies.

The expected monthly fee will be ¥550 for those with an annual income of ¥4 million, and ¥1,100 for those with an annual income of ¥8 million, Kato told a special committee meeting in the lower house of parliament.

There will be a relief measure for low-income families, under which a participant with an annual income of ¥2 million will be charged ¥250 per month, Kato added.

The estimates serve only as reference figures, Kato said, adding that many participants in the program receive less than ¥4 million in annual income.

On Tuesday, the government released estimates of annual income-like fees for corporate workers. For example, an employee with an annual income of ¥6 million must pay ¥1,000 monthly.

Japan will begin collecting fees from participants in Kokumin Kenkon Hogan and other public health insurance programs in fiscal year 2026, gradually raising the amount to collect a total of ¥1 trillion annually.

The government plans to receive ¥3.6 trillion annually through fiscal year 2028 for measures to address the low birth rate. In total, ¥1 trillion will come from tariffs.

At Thursday's meeting, Takeshi Shina of Japan's main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party criticized the government, saying it should „consider ways to get funding without asking (the public) to pay new costs.”

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