Parenting in Japan: Estimated childbirth and child rearing fees in Japan

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Table of contents
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1. Introduction


Raising children in Japan comes with various costs and benefits. This article will explore these aspects in detail, from pregnancy and childbirth costs to child-rearing support provided by the government and companies.


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2. How much does it cost to raise kids in Japan?


Costs associated with raising children in Japan can be broadly categorized into medical expenses, food, and education. Here is a detailed breakdown:

1) Pregnancy and Childbirth


Medical expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth are not covered by medical insurance because they are not due to illness or injury, but there are many administrative subsidies and support programs available.


Prenatal checkup costs:

Prenatal checkups are carried out at public health centers and hospitals. In most cases, about 14 checkups are given, and the total cost averages about 110,000 yen. If you use the subsidy coupon, up to 14 checkups for the designated examination items are free of charge.


Childbirth expenses:

The cost of childbirth varies greatly depending on the hospital, or midwifery center, and method of delivery, but in general, it is around 500,000 yen. There will be additional costs for a cesarean section, for example.

In addition to these costs, you will also need to consider the cost of purchasing maternity and baby items necessary for pregnancy and delivery. On the other hand, there are other government subsidies available. A maternity and childbirth lump-sum allowance of up to 500,000 yen per child is available if you are a member of a health insurance association.




2) Food


Food costs vary greatly depending on the age of the child.


Toddler period (0-5 years old):

Children in this age group eat smaller amounts of food and gradually approach adult food from the weaning stage. In the early stages of weaning, store-bought baby food is often used, and the cost is relatively high. Overall, however, food costs are not very high.

Estimated annual cost: 220,000 yen


Elementary school students (6-12 years old):

Elementary school students eat more and parents are expected to provide a nutritionally balanced diet. Depending on whether or not school lunches are provided, the cost of food will rise as more meals are prepared at home.

Approximate annual cost: 270,000 yen


Junior high and high school students (ages 13-18):

Children's appetites increase as they enter puberty. Food expenses will also increase due to the increase in out-of-school activities and eating out with friends.

Estimated annual cost: 350,000 yen

These figures are general guidelines, and actual costs may vary greatly depending on the region, lifestyle of the family, food selection, frequency of eating out, etc. In addition, food prices change from year to year, so these figures are likely to vary widely.



3) School


In raising children in Japan, education costs are one of the major expense items in the household budget. The following is an estimate of education expenses at each age level.


In the case of local schools


Toddler years (0-5 years old):
Educational expenses during this period are largely dependent on whether the child attends preschool or kindergarten. Public schools are relatively low-cost, while private preschools and kindergartens are more expensive.

Some municipalities offer subsidies for childcare fees, and in some areas there are many advantages, such as exemption of childcare fees for the second and subsequent children.

It is recommended that you check the website of the municipality to which you are moving.

Estimated annual cost:
Public schools: almost free of charge to several tens of thousands of yen
Private schools: 200,000 yen to 500,000 yen


Elementary school students (6-12 years old):
Tuition is free for elementary school education in public schools, but fees for school lunches, educational materials, field trips, school excursions, etc. are required. Private schools charge tuition.

Estimated annual cost:
Public schools: 50,000-100,000 yen
Private schools: 1,000,000-2,000,000 yen


Junior high school students (ages 13-15):
At public junior high schools, tuition is free, but there are fees for uniforms, club activities, school trips, etc. At private junior high schools, education fees are even higher including tuition.

Estimated annual cost:
Public schools: 50,000-150,000 yen
Private schools: 1,000,000-3,000,000 yen


High school students (16-18 years old):
High school education requires tuition in public schools, but some local governments offer subsidies. Private high schools cost even more. In addition, students who intend to go on to university must also consider the cost of attending cram schools and preparatory schools.

Estimated annual cost:
Public Schools: 100,000-300,000 yen
Private schools: 3,000,000-5,000,000 yen


In the case of International School


International schools are schools for children from other countries living in Japan, and all classes are conducted in English. In general, tuition fees are higher than those of local schools, and a certain level of English proficiency is required for admission. Students can attend elementary, junior high, and high school for 12 years.

Tuition here is not much different for each age group, and from early childhood to high school, the annual cost is often more than 2,000,000 yen.



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3. Child-Rearing Support in Japan


1) Administrative Support


In Japan, national and regional governments have established laws and ordinances to support child rearing.

The lump-sum childbirth and child-rearing allowance mentioned earlier in the pregnancy and childbirth part is one of those. Other subsidies such as child allowance and child support allowance, which amount to 10,000 yen or more per month, are also provided. There are also many subsidy programs to reduce the burden of medical expenses for children, and some regions offer free medical care for children.

In addition to the above financial support, the government provides a maternity leave system.

By law, one can take maternity or childcare leave from 6 weeks before delivery until the child turns one year old. In addition, employees are obligated to take maternity leave for 8 weeks after childbirth, and cannot work regardless of their intentions. During maternity and childcare leave, two-thirds of the salary is paid, and childcare leave benefits are provided.


2) Support by Companies


In addition to government support for childcare, companies sometimes offer childcare support measures as part of their employee benefit programs. The following are some examples.


Extension of childcare leave:

Many people may feel that the legal childcare leave is too short. Many companies offer extended childcare leave, allow employees to work fewer days per week or hours per day, or have other systems in place to allow employees more time for child-rearing. Many companies also offer flexible work schedules or remote work systems to support employees in dropping off and picking up their children. Such childcare leave is usually paid leave, so there is no need to rush to work in order to earn money.


Establishment of a day-care center:

A day-care center can be set up within the business premises and employees can leave their children there. This is established to allow employees to return to work as soon as possible after childcare leave.

Other unusual programs include pregnancy leave (paid time off for hospital visits) and an employee scholarship program (to cover part of the tuition expenses of employees and their families). As Japan as a whole is struggling with a declining birthrate, it can be expected that the benefits and other programs to support child-rearing will continue to grow in the future.



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4. Conclusion


How do you feel about the above? Understandably, raising a child in Japan is expensive. On the other hand, as Japan struggles with a declining birthrate, various measures are being taken to support child-rearing, and the benefits will continue to expand in the future. If you are interested in raising children in Japan, please consider working in Japan!



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