• Kyodo News

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Parents of 34 children out of an eligible 5.5 million kids in major cities turned down central government-issued child allowances, thus effectively “donating” them to their local governments, a Kyodo News survey showed Friday.

The survey of 74 local governments in the 47 prefectural capitals, four noncapital large cities and Tokyo’s 23 wards indicates a lack of publicity plus red tape program led to the allowance rejections.

Under the child allowance law that took effect in April, local governments began in June distributing ¥13,000 a month for each child of junior high school age or younger, or ¥2.25 trillion a year for 17.35 million children nationwide.

But instead of setting an income limit for parents in providing the benefits, the law enables those who feel such benefits are unnecessary to reject them, thus the funds are donated to their local government.

The benefits for 34 children, or one out of 160,000 in the areas covered, were donated to 14 city and ward governments as of the end of July — the eight cities of Sapporo, Sendai, Gifu, Osaka, Wakayama, Fukuoka, Miyazaki and Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, and Tokyo’s Chuo, Bunkyo, Meguro, Ota, Suginami and Itabashi wards. Utsunomiya and Fukuoka got the allowances for seven children each, followed by three each in Tokyo’s Meguro and Suginami wards.

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