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The central government plans to begin offering grants to municipalities that promote teleworking as a regional revitalization measure from fiscal 2021.

The Cabinet Office and the Cabinet Secretariat are expected to earmark ¥15 billion for the subsidy in their budget requests for the fiscal year from April, informed sources said Friday.

The increase in the number of people working from home and other remote locations amid the coronavirus pandemic has led to a rise of interest in living in rural areas away from densely populated urban centers. The government hopes to support the shift to working from rural areas as a way to correct the concentration of industry and population in Tokyo, the sources said.

The new grant will be available to all municipalities except Tokyo and the prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, which make up the greater Tokyo metropolis. Under the government’s plan, it will cover 75 percent of expenses borne by municipalities for setting up systems to accept satellite offices of companies and shared office spaces.

The agencies will also ask for ¥400 million for a project to match businesses with municipalities looking to accept branch offices.

They are also planning to boost a subsidy program that awards up to ¥1 million to people who lived or worked in central Tokyo’s 23 wards and have moved and found work in regional areas.

People who continued their jobs were previously unable to apply for the aid. The government plans to offer the grant to those who move to rural areas for raising their children or taking care of elderly family members, while continuing to work for their employers in Tokyo through remote work.

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