Cash for Kids: Japan’s Employers Offer ‘Baby Bonuses’

ABC News, June 7, 2007

Japan is using a controversial new strategy to boost its birthrate: It’s offering financial incentives to families for having babies.

Under pressure from the Japanese government, employers are offering baby bonuses in the form of everything from cell phones to cold, hard cash.

The Nakatsuka family got more than a bundle of joy when their third child, Yui, was born.

They got cash as well—an $8,000 bonus from the husband’s employer, the Japanese telecom company Softbank. It was a bonus for having another child.

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Young Japanese citizens say it’s too expensive to have kids, and women in particular don’t want to give up their careers and lifestyles for motherhood.

A few years ago, local governments began offering cash bonuses to boost the population in rural Japan.

Now, corporate Japan is joining the battle.

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The Nakatsuka family could end up with an additional $60,000 if they have a fourth and fifth child.

Each child also gets a free mobile phone with Softbank paying the phone bills.

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