How much does it cost to have a baby in Japan?

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  • Are you in the middle of a life-changing decision of whether to have children in Japan? This article might help you decide.

    If you decided to stay

    We all know that Japan can be an expensive place to visit. Tokyo, its capital, is known as a very expensive city to tour in. But what about if you are staying in Japan for more than just a visit. Let’s say for good? Getting a job, getting married and raising a family? Have you thought of how much it would cost to have a baby?

    Getting a home pregnancy kit to know if you are carrying a baby is very cheap. You can have two kits to be sure if you are anxious about the kit’s accuracy. But getting a positive home pregnancy test and waiting 9 months for the baby to be born is not enough. You need to have prenatal check-ups, series of laboratory tests.

    Not just that but you have to think of the basic needs such as clothes, diapers, milk and other baby paraphernalia. In fact, the list does not end there for you have to buy toys, shoes and other accessories for your baby. Not to mention the expenditures for medicines and hospitalizations during sick days. With those ideas in mind, do you think you can afford having a baby in Japan?

    Average costs

    To help you in decide, here are some values (which are mostly based on personal experiences) to give you an inkling on the average cost of having a baby in Japan. These costs are average for the time from conception to one year of age.

    Average Basic Cost from Conception to 1 Year of Age
    Expense name Average Cost in JPY
    Prenatal Checkups, Laboratory Tests and Diagnostics(Average of 14 visits)* 98,000
    Hospitalization (normal delivery) 350,000
    Clothes 120,000
    Diapers (2,200 for 2 packs per month x 12 months) 26,400
    Milk/Formula ** 120,000
    Baby Wipes, Cotton 8,400
    Others (bottles, sterilizing set, changing mats, clippers, bath towels, and other baby goods) 60,000
    Furniture (Crib, mats, stroller, car seat, etc…) 120,000
    Immunizations and Checkups Free
    Maternal and Child Care Classes Free

    * But if you have received your Boshi Techo or Mother and Child Care Handbook there are coupons in there which you can use on your Prenatal visits for discounts.

    ** If you are breastfeeding, then there is no need to add Milk in your budget.

    The bright side!

    Yes, having a baby in Japan could be costly but there are good news:
    Japan’s National Health Insurance does not cover prenatal check-ups. However, after you have notified the city hall of your pregnancy, they will give you a Boshi Techo or Maternal and Child Care Handbook which includes tickets and coupons for discounts on prenatal visits. In fact, if you have the handbook, your prenatal will just cost as low as 500 yen per visit.

    The Insurance also gives birth allowance of 420,000 yen to each delivery which you can use during your hospitalization or you can claim it after the hospitalization.
    Some towns have subsidization for medical fees of children both during hospitalization and out-patient. The coverage for each city is different but in my experience, the coverage even includes medicines and diagnostics. So basically, it is almost free.
    Immunizations are free except for the Flu Vaccine which is around 2000 yen.
    Japan provides child allowance from new born to junior high school. 15,000 yen per month is given for children below 3 years old.
    If you are breastfeeding, there is really no need for you to purchase milk or any formula.

    Total Basic Cost
    Birth Allowance 420,000
    Monthly Child Allowance 15,000 x 12 months 180,000
    If Breastfeeding (no need to purchase Milk/Formula) 120,000
    Total Minimum Cost

    Yes, having a baby in Japan is costly (just like in every other country) but its government is providing well for their younger generation. So there is no need to palpitate every time you think about, or your partner talks about having a baby, for with the child’s monthly allowances from the government the cost of having a baby in Japan is a lot more affordable.