Japanese to be rewarded for big families

Jan. 6, 2005 at 6:28 AM
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TOKYO, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Families with three or more children in Japan's Ishikawa prefecture will receive special discount cards for shopping, Asahi Shimbun reported Thursday.

The prefectural government will distribute the card, called a Premium Passport, which offers discounts at supermarkets, restaurants, clothing stores and other retailers.

Ishikawa Governor Masanori Tanimoto unveiled the plan Tuesday, as part of a broader strategy to encourage larger families in a nation with a falling birthrate.

The new measure will take effect this fall, applying only to families with children under 18 years of age.

About 19,000 of the 410,000 households in the prefecture will be eligible for the cards.

The bill for the discounts will be shouldered by participating companies, which in turn will be recognized with a special seal from the prefectural government that reads, "We are a company that supports child-rearing."

The companies may display the seal at their outlets or in their advertisements, and the government will list the companies in newspaper ads and public bulletins.

The prefectural government will encourage companies to support employees who are raising children by offering ample maternity or child-rearing leave, among other steps.

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