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Article Japan: 2010 Child Allowance Law

(Apr. 23, 2010) One of the important policies of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has been the provision of a monthly child allowance for all children, regardless of the parents' income. In March 2007, the DPJ raised the amount it proposed for the child allowance to ¥26,000 (about US$260). (Kumiko Hayashi, Minshu tō no 'kodomo teate' seisaku ni suite (Chūkan hōkoku) [Concerning DPJ's 'Child Allowance Policy' (Interim Report)], DPJ website, Mar. 20, 2007, available at

The Cabinet formed in September 2009 by the ruling coalition, including the DPJ, submitted the Child Allowance During Fiscal Year 2010 Bill to the Diet (Parliament) in early 2010. (Cabinet Bill No. 6, 174th Diet Session.) The Diet passed the bill, and it became law on March 31, 2010, effective the following day. (Child Allowance During Fiscal Year 2010 Law, Law No. 19 of 2010.)

The 2010 Child Allowance Law obligates municipal governments to give parents an allowance of ¥13,000 (about US$130) per child per month. The amount is half of what the DPJ had pledged during the 2009 electoral campaign, due to Japan's current budget deficit. The DPJ aims to give parents the full ¥26,000 per child in the next fiscal year, although, because of the country's ongoing financial difficulties, even some DPJ members oppose payment of that full amount. (Kodomo teate no mangaku shihyū ni shinchō ron [Some Are Cautious on Full Payment of Child Allowance], SANKEI NEWSPAPER, Apr. 22, 2010,

In addition to the problem posed to the amount of the child allowance by Japan's financial situation, there is the additional difficulty that many Japanese oppose the inclusion of foreign residents as recipients of the allowance. If they support their children financially, foreign residents who have lived in Japan for more than a year are entitled to the allowance, whether or not their children live in Japan. They have to submit documents to prove the children's existence and their provision of financial support to those children. However, municipal governments do not have the ability to verify documents submitted by these applicants, and thus there is a risk of falsified documents being accepted as valid. (Minoru Matsutani, Q&A: Ins, Outs of New Child Allowance, JAPAN TIMES, Apr. 1, 2010, available at

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