• Kyodo


The government in 2020 is expected to set a goal of reducing the number of new residents in Tokyo by 70,000 per year from the 2013 level to ease overpopulation in the capital, a draft of the policy showed Friday.

Later this month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet is likely to approve the five-year plan on addressing the declining population and revitalizing regional economies.

The plan, a copy of which was obtained by Kyodo News, is expected to include measures to achieve the target, such as efforts to encourage the relocation of public research institutions and companies to other regions.

As for the high degree of freedom in handing out subsidies to local governments, the draft just said the government will “consider setting” up such a system and did not mention the size of the subsidies or any other details of the scheme.

According to the draft, more people move into the Tokyo metropolitan area and its three surrounding prefectures — Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa — each year than leave — about 100,000 more in fact — and the net inflow is expected to continue.

To balance the inflow and the outflow by 2020, the government wants to cut the annual inflow by 70,000 compared with 2013, and increase the outflow by 30,000, the draft said.

To support any companies willing to join the exodus, the government plans to set up a subsidy program for those that increase hiring outside Tokyo and offer tax breaks to those that clear out their headquarters and research and development centers as well.

It also plans to take applications from municipalities outside Tokyo interested in hosting state-backed research institutions and examination centers starting in fiscal 2015, and launch the relocation efforts in fiscal 2016.

It is also expected to set a goal of expanding the younger ranks in the agriculture, forestry and fishery industries by 50,000 in five years while helping them increase exports.

To support childbearing and nurturing, the government plans to set up counseling centers at 150 locations by the end of fiscal 2015 and start running them by 2020.

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