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News Saitama City to pay child support for single parents


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
The Saitama Municipal Government initiated a new program to alleviate poverty among single-parent households this fiscal year. The program provides financial assistance for childcare expenses to single parents, offering up to 50,000 JPY (approximately USD320) monthly for each child for three months. The innovative aspect of this program is that the city government will then seek reimbursement from the non-paying divorced spouses. While similar initiatives exist in Western countries, this approach is uncommon in Japan. The Saitama Municipal Government's strategy represents a proactive step towards supporting single parents facing financial challenges due to non-payment of child support.

The program's purpose is to alleviate the financial and psychological burden on single-parent families, and it is targeted at families in need, such as those receiving child support allowances. The measure is implemented under the condition that the amount of child care expense has been agreed upon between the divorced partners through a notarized or mediation document. Anticipating that 20 people will use the program this fiscal year, the city government has allocated 3 million JPY (approx. USD19,000) in the initial budget for the scheme. According to a national survey, the relative poverty rate, which indicates the percentage of households with incomes significantly lower than the standard amount, was 44.5% in 2021 for single-parent families, the majority of which are single-mother households. Another national survey found that only 28.1% of single-mother families received child support from their ex-spouses in fiscal 2021, and more than half of these families had not made payment arrangements with their divorced partners.

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