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  • Having a baby

    My husband and I are trying to decide whether to have a baby or not. We/ I am reaching the age where it will start to become more difficult to conceive. How expensive is it to raise children in Japan and is there any support like child allowance?
    We love living in Japan and don't really want to return to our home country, but we are worried it will be too expensive to raise a child here.

    I would love to here from other non-Japanese couples living in Japan who have had a baby recently (last year or two).
    Private messages or replies to this post are both accepted.

    Ps: we live in a small city in Chubu where the rent is cheap and living in general is cheap.

  • #2
    I don't think the situation is much different from in most other countries. Children are a major financial and emotional burden for many years, as well as an absolute delight (I've got two). People do help out though, clothes and toys get passed down from friends with older children, as everywhere else, mothers are very supportive of each other and my wife started making friends again when she became a mother. There is child support, I've forgotten how much since it goes straight to my wife, and in some places the cost of medical care is free for children up to a certain age.
    Go for it and good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by girlygirlinjapan View Post
      How expensive is it to raise children in Japan and is there any support like child allowance?
      My wife and I just had our first child in September. Prenatal care was great with regular (free checkups) after the first trimester. The birth was not expensive considering the gov't paid for all but about 80,000 yen of it, and even then my insurance co-op gave us an additional 50,000 yen to cover any costs, so it was only 30,000 yen out of pocket. This was for delivery, and a 5-day stay in a small, private room. I filled out the paperwork at my town office to get both free medical checkups (including vaccinations) for my daughter until she is in her teens as well as the child welfare pay't which comes every few months.

      With all of this, I don't think it's that expensive to have a baby, but I'm expecting crazy costs once she gets older (mostly all tied to education).

      What has been expensive is getting gifts. I'm not sure how it would work since you and your partner are both foreigners, but my wife is Japanese, so we follow custom. If you're getting gifts of money or baby things from Japanese friends/family, you should be giving a thank you gift of half the amount.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Moobies View Post
        My wife and I just had our first child in September. Prenatal care was great with regular (free checkups) after the first trimester. The birth was not expensive considering the gov't paid for all but about 80,000 yen of it, and even then my insurance co-op gave us an additional 50,000 yen to cover any costs, so it was only 30,000 yen out of pocket. This was for delivery, and a 5-day stay in a small, private room. I filled out the paperwork at my town office to get both free medical checkups (including vaccinations) for my daughter until she is in her teens as well as the child welfare pay't which comes every few months.

        With all of this, I don't think it's that expensive to have a baby, but I'm expecting crazy costs once she gets older (mostly all tied to education).

        What has been expensive is getting gifts. I'm not sure how it would work since you and your partner are both foreigners, but my wife is Japanese, so we follow custom. If you're getting gifts of money or baby things from Japanese friends/family, you should be giving a thank you gift of half the amount.
        Congratulations - your baby daughter is very lucky in that both of her parents have breasts!

        Sorry, back to the serious discussion.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for your reply. Are you and your significant other both foreigners? The reason I want foreigners to reply (although I am
          Happy for any advice, suggestions, donations.. haha..) is that then I know that not situations will be the same. Eg: getting government child support money.

          Comment


          • #6
            Some great info, Moobies.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by girlygirlinjapan View Post
              My husband and I are trying to decide whether to have a baby or not. We/ I am reaching the age where it will start to become more difficult to conceive. How expensive is it to raise children in Japan and is there any support like child allowance?
              We love living in Japan and don't really want to return to our home country, but we are worried it will be too expensive to raise a child here.

              I would love to here from other non-Japanese couples living in Japan who have had a baby recently (last year or two).
              Private messages or replies to this post are both accepted.

              Ps: we live in a small city in Chubu where the rent is cheap and living in general is cheap.
              In my case, having kids is the happiest and worst thing I have ever experienced in my life.
              It goes without saying, that the first step, making the baby, brings the utmost pleasue a man can have.
              -pause for your deep sigh, complete with a little smile(Sorry, I can't help myself. You know I have the brain of a four year old)

              For a guy, that's where we think it ends.
              It doesn't.
              This creature begins to inhabit our wives,and our lives.

              If the guy has half a brain, he will listen to his wife, hold her hand and go through her pain with her, each and every step of the way.
              If he doesn't, he can bring about stress for all three parties involved.
              That's not the way to go, so if a couple is sure they're ready for the long haul, and can work togehter, it should work.

              I assume your husband is Japanese, so you need to find out what your city offers as far as benefits.
              The national health insurance pays for certain things(sorry, it's been a while and my wife handled all of it, so I'm not going to pretend to know what advice to give you) and your city might pay certain benefits all the way through high schoool. BUT, it's a city by city thing as far as I know. It's not much and depends on your household income, but every little bit helps.

              Talk with him about his family and how much or how little help you can expect.
              We used babysitters in my home town, back in the day, but Japanese do go for that.
              You might be expected to have your child glued to your back for the first ten years.
              You might be good with that now, but you will need time by yourself as well as with your husband.

              I'm getting way ahead of myself here, but that's what happens after you have kids...the minds slips away gently and you spend your free moments on forums giving advice when suddenly, you can't remember what the original post was!!!!

              I'm joking, but good luck and have fun.

              Make sure you're in this together and things will work out.

              Comment


              • #8
                See, I forgot to clarify what the worst part was!

                I was so used to doing things alone, that I lost my feelings.
                So the hardest part of having kids is that they consume all of your time and I can worry about nothing else but them.
                I know that they have to live their own lives, but worry always creeps into our minds.
                The best we can hope for is to teach them well.
                Teach them how to make proper decisions and that we are always there for them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Actually, the nationality does not matter for health and other benefits. As long as you are in the National Health, you get a flat amount for the birth. This is more or less breaking even on the cost for delivery. Child allowance might be cut under the new government, so I'd not count on it.
                  Your main cost will be your loss of income if you decide to take some years off work to raise the kids. Schooling in Japan is mandatory till 9th grade, so public schools are free. However, if you want to send your kids to an english-speaking/international school, this will cost you about Y 2 mio/child/year.

                  Generally speaking, it is very useful to have family closeby such as for free baby-sitting.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by girlygirlinjapan View Post
                    My husband and I are trying to decide whether to have a baby or not. We/ I am reaching the age where it will start to become more difficult to conceive. How expensive is it to raise children in Japan and is there any support like child allowance?
                    We love living in Japan and don't really want to return to our home country, but we are worried it will be too expensive to raise a child here.

                    I would love to here from other non-Japanese couples living in Japan who have had a baby recently (last year or two).
                    Private messages or replies to this post are both accepted.

                    Ps: we live in a small city in Chubu where the rent is cheap and living in general is cheap.
                    Im going to be blunt, and hope I don't come across as rude. Sorry in advance, no offense intended at all.

                    What I would say about this is, if you are humming and haa-ing about "should we or shouldn't we" then don't do it. Unless one or both of you really, really wants a child, then it will be too hard. Its not really a decision like "should I change my job" major, but its a lifestyle smack in the head. To put it lightly. As a woman, I can maybe relate to this more than the guys on here, because as a woman you do end up doing the lions share of the work. Also the fact you are running out of time is not a reason in itself to have a kid. I mean of course, anyone can have a kid whenever they want, but it kind of seems like you are doing it for the wrong reasons, if just for age?

                    ANYWAYS in terms of your questions...

                    Having a baby - you get coupons for your hospital visits, which cover a huge portion, but going in to give birth will cost you around the \500,000 mark.
                    You pay this first then get about 400000 of it back generally. Varies according to region. If you go back to your home country to give birth (remember pain medication here is generally not done) you will have to add the airplane tickets on top.
                    The baby times are cheap. But you will be spending a couple of a man a month on nappies and formula, if you choose to.

                    The time where it starts to get rough is when you decide you want to go back to work (and you will have to, unless you have PR. A gaijin woman married to a gaijin man can generally find it hard to get visa sponsorship being a dependent or SAHM.)
                    Firstly you need to think what you are going to do - a part time job wont get you a visa, and no English school / ALT company will touch you with a barge pole if you have a kid. It comes down to "what will you do if your kid gets sick?" and you will answer " I would need a holiday." That is enough for them to refuse you in the first place. IF you have a seishain job at a Japanese company now (I do, by the way, which is the only way I got through life as a working mother) you will be eligible for maternity leave and your job back after childbirth, however (Im assuming your a teacher) teaching jobs do not offer maternity leave, as they are technically not full time most of the time. Disregard this if it doesn't apply to you.

                    Then comes childcare. Being a foreign couple (regardless of time lived in Japan) will put you at the bottom of the public hoikuen lists, meaning you will almost definitely have to go private. This can cost anywhere between 6-10man a month per child, (depending on where you live) and does not include stuff like food, uniforms, etc.

                    It doesn't sound much now, because you are loved up with your hubby in Japan. BUT when the kid is born, you have NO time by yourself in a day, no family to help (and hubby WILL continue his old life of going out working, drinking and with friends when you cant get out of the house) and it is easy to go crazy very very quick, and start to resent him.
                    Please don't underestimate how hard it is to have absolutely no family around to help out. Friends say they will help, and they do help - they will come and visit one weekend every couple of months, take some photos of your cute kid, and then leave, but they wont give up their friday nights for you two to go on a date. Japan doesn't have babysitters.

                    You will not be able to recieve any of the benefits Japanese parents do - like monthly childcare support money, the very cheap insurance for your child (which makes everything from a cold to a major operation and 3 month stay in hospital 500 yen) or free school meals etc.

                    There is also the whole mendokusai thing about how your kid will have to get its own visa, passport, insurance, and all the other crap that goes along with being a foreigner in Japan. Plus not to mention the social aspect of it all ... the stigma, the stares... In this respect the "halfuus" are lucky. But many people in Japan (not just elderly) will feel some resentment towards you and your child for being here in the first place. Please think about all these things, and not just the financial side.

                    I dont know about your Japanese level (whether you are both fluent, speak nothing or somewhere in between) but even for those of us who have a Japanese spouse, it is trying. The paperwork alone is horrendous. You would probably need alot of help from someone.

                    In total, I would say that having a baby in Japan is very hard. HOWEVER the financial side is not the most difficult. Its the isolation, the fact the other mums at the park dont want to speak to you or play with you, and assume you cant speak Japanese. Its the social stigma your kid will face. Its the difficulties faced by ALL working mothers here, compounded by the fact you are a gaijin, without a Japanese spouse that makes it rough. BUT of course children are a joy. However. . . tremendously hard work.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ume View Post
                      Im going to be blunt, and hope I don't come across as rude. Sorry in advance, no offense intended at all.

                      What I would say about this is, if you are humming and haa-ing about "should we or shouldn't we" then don't do it. Unless one or both of you really, really wants a child, then it will be too hard. Its not really a decision like "should I change my job" major, but its a lifestyle smack in the head. To put it lightly. As a woman, I can maybe relate to this more than the guys on here, because as a woman you do end up doing the lions share of the work. Also the fact you are running out of time is not a reason in itself to have a kid. I mean of course, anyone can have a kid whenever they want, but it kind of seems like you are doing it for the wrong reasons, if just for age?

                      ANYWAYS in terms of your questions...

                      Having a baby - you get coupons for your hospital visits, which cover a huge portion, but going in to give birth will cost you around the \500,000 mark.
                      You pay this first then get about 400000 of it back generally. Varies according to region. If you go back to your home country to give birth (remember pain medication here is generally not done) you will have to add the airplane tickets on top.
                      The baby times are cheap. But you will be spending a couple of a man a month on nappies and formula, if you choose to.

                      The time where it starts to get rough is when you decide you want to go back to work (and you will have to, unless you have PR. A gaijin woman married to a gaijin man can generally find it hard to get visa sponsorship being a dependent or SAHM.)
                      Firstly you need to think what you are going to do - a part time job wont get you a visa, and no English school / ALT company will touch you with a barge pole if you have a kid. It comes down to "what will you do if your kid gets sick?" and you will answer " I would need a holiday." That is enough for them to refuse you in the first place. IF you have a seishain job at a Japanese company now (I do, by the way, which is the only way I got through life as a working mother) you will be eligible for maternity leave and your job back after childbirth, however (Im assuming your a teacher) teaching jobs do not offer maternity leave, as they are technically not full time most of the time. Disregard this if it doesn't apply to you.

                      Then comes childcare. Being a foreign couple (regardless of time lived in Japan) will put you at the bottom of the public hoikuen lists, meaning you will almost definitely have to go private. This can cost anywhere between 6-10man a month per child, (depending on where you live) and does not include stuff like food, uniforms, etc.

                      It doesn't sound much now, because you are loved up with your hubby in Japan. BUT when the kid is born, you have NO time by yourself in a day, no family to help (and hubby WILL continue his old life of going out working, drinking and with friends when you cant get out of the house) and it is easy to go crazy very very quick, and start to resent him.
                      Please don't underestimate how hard it is to have absolutely no family around to help out. Friends say they will help, and they do help - they will come and visit one weekend every couple of months, take some photos of your cute kid, and then leave, but they wont give up their friday nights for you two to go on a date. Japan doesn't have babysitters.

                      You will not be able to recieve any of the benefits Japanese parents do - like monthly childcare support money, the very cheap insurance for your child (which makes everything from a cold to a major operation and 3 month stay in hospital 500 yen) or free school meals etc.

                      There is also the whole mendokusai thing about how your kid will have to get its own visa, passport, insurance, and all the other crap that goes along with being a foreigner in Japan. Plus not to mention the social aspect of it all ... the stigma, the stares... In this respect the "halfuus" are lucky. But many people in Japan (not just elderly) will feel some resentment towards you and your child for being here in the first place. Please think about all these things, and not just the financial side.

                      I dont know about your Japanese level (whether you are both fluent, speak nothing or somewhere in between) but even for those of us who have a Japanese spouse, it is trying. The paperwork alone is horrendous. You would probably need alot of help from someone.

                      In total, I would say that having a baby in Japan is very hard. HOWEVER the financial side is not the most difficult. Its the isolation, the fact the other mums at the park dont want to speak to you or play with you, and assume you cant speak Japanese. Its the social stigma your kid will face. Its the difficulties faced by ALL working mothers here, compounded by the fact you are a gaijin, without a Japanese spouse that makes it rough. BUT of course children are a joy. However. . . tremendously hard work.
                      Nice effort ume!
                      Fred

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I dunno, Ume, your info is a bit off.

                        Originally posted by ume View Post
                        A gaijin woman married to a gaijin man can generally find it hard to get visa sponsorship being a dependent or SAHM.)
                        The process of acquiring a dependent visa, as long as you're legitimately married to someone with a working visa, is pretty simple.

                        Then comes childcare. Being a foreign couple (regardless of time lived in Japan) will put you at the bottom of the public hoikuen lists, meaning you will almost definitely have to go private. This can cost anywhere between 6-10man a month per child, (depending on where you live) and does not include stuff like food, uniforms, etc.
                        There are no rules anywhere that say nationality plays a role in getting a spot in public hoikuen. While I'm not saying this doesn't happen, where did you get this info?

                        Private hoikuen costs an average of 60 000yen/month for 40 hours a week of care in my ward in Tokyo, and the ward office will subsidize 20 000yen of that (income-capped). Various regions differ. Beats what I would be paying at home!

                        Japan doesn't have babysitters.
                        Yes Japan does. Again, maybe this is a Tokyo thing but there are babysitter dispatch companies all over the place. They cost a bit, but there is also a ward-subsidized 'family support' program through which you can hire babysitters for 800yen an hour.

                        You will not be able to recieve any of the benefits Japanese parents do - like monthly childcare support money, the very cheap insurance for your child (which makes everything from a cold to a major operation and 3 month stay in hospital 500 yen) or free school meals etc.
                        This is absolutely not true. All kids in Japan, regardless of their nationality, are eligible for kodomo teate payments and maru-nyu insurance cards, etc.

                        The paperwork alone is horrendous. You would probably need alot of help from someone.
                        This is true! Oh god, the forms. Do what I did: go to the neighborhood "silver jinzai center" and hire a retired person with nice handwriting to fill out all that ____ for you.

                        Have a kid or don't, whatever. But if you do, there are resources to help you if you are put in the legwork to find them.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wzwzwz View Post
                          I dunno, Ume, your info is a bit off.



                          The process of acquiring a dependent visa, as long as you're legitimately married to someone with a working visa, is pretty simple.



                          There are no rules anywhere that say nationality plays a role in getting a spot in public hoikuen. While I'm not saying this doesn't happen, where did you get this info?

                          Private hoikuen costs an average of 60 000yen/month for 40 hours a week of care in my ward in Tokyo, and the ward office will subsidize 20 000yen of that (income-capped). Various regions differ. Beats what I would be paying at home!



                          Yes Japan does. Again, maybe this is a Tokyo thing but there are babysitter dispatch companies all over the place. They cost a bit, but there is also a ward-subsidized 'family support' program through which you can hire babysitters for 800yen an hour.



                          This is absolutely not true. All kids in Japan, regardless of their nationality, are eligible for kodomo teate payments and maru-nyu insurance cards, etc.



                          This is true! Oh god, the forms. Do what I did: go to the neighborhood "silver jinzai center" and hire a retired person with nice handwriting to fill out all that ____ for you.

                          Have a kid or don't, whatever. But if you do, there are resources to help you if you are put in the legwork to find them.
                          A response - I guess the thing is that alot of the information does vary by area.

                          The visa thing - yes, in itself is quite simple, if you have a japanese spouse. If you have a foreign spouse it can be a nightmare, if your ex is not a seishain. From the posters older posts, it seems at least she is an English teacher/ALT, and I am assuming her husband is too. From my brief online check I could find some visas (EG engineer) would also dependents, but an instructor visa was not one of those listed. Not to even imagine how a ALT could support a wife and child on a salary of (whats the going rate now?) 230000 a month...


                          Also remember that a dependant can not work. No job lined up = no public hoikuen. Its a pain in the a-- at best, and a very vicious circle at worst. There are of course, no rules when it comes to hoikuen admittences, but with a stay at home wife , the chances are very slim. The OP didnt tell us yet about her or hubbies Japanese level, I am interested to know.

                          In terms of the kodomo teate, NOT all foreign residents are included. In Osaka the criteria are "long term or permanent residents" and it is noted very clearly that it is dependant on residential status. A 1 or 3 year visa will not grant you kodomo teate.

                          Babysitters - In Osaka, your pro babysitting service will be costing you 1800 an hour. More at weekends or evenings. Of course they do HAVE babysitters, however whether they are available in the chubu sticks or not, is another question. Silver service hours are limited, and the people are volunteers - They have no training or experience necessary, and have not had a police background check. Say what you will, but I doubt I would be comfortable leaving my child with someone like that for long periods of time, regardless of how well intentioned. I wouldnt even feel comfortable because of the fact that a 60-70 year old would find it hard to keep up with a 2 or 3 year old. Thats just me of course.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think Ume has given a great take on things. A couple of differences that we experienced:

                            Having a baby - you get coupons for your hospital visits, which cover a huge portion, but going in to give birth will cost you around the \500,000 mark. You pay this first then get about 400000 of it back generally. Varies according to region.
                            Some hospitals directly receive and deduct the gov't assistance for delivery, so you won't have to go through the hassle of paying up front.

                            remember pain medication here is generally not done
                            The opposite seems more common these days. My wife chose her hospital based on this option, and it was the reason why we had to pay out of pocket.

                            It doesn't sound much now, because you are loved up with your hubby in Japan. BUT when the kid is born, you have NO time by yourself in a day, no family to help (and hubby WILL continue his old life of going out working, drinking and with friends when you cant get out of the house) and it is easy to go crazy very very quick, and start to resent him. Please don't underestimate how hard it is to have absolutely no family around to help out. Friends say they will help, and they do help - they will come and visit one weekend every couple of months, take some photos of your cute kid, and then leave, but they wont give up their friday nights for you two to go on a date.
                            This is spot on, and true not only with foreign women in Japan but natives as well. We live about an hour by shink from her family, and she has few friends where we live now. This is just one of the reasons why my wife's stress levels are through the roof and although I help out as much as I can and try to suffer with her, it's just different.

                            your Japanese level (whether you are both fluent, speak nothing or somewhere in between) but even for those of us who have a Japanese spouse, it is trying. The paperwork alone is horrendous. You would probably need alot of help from someone.
                            Totally spot on. I've got a few friends with kids who are not married to a Japanese spouse and I think they are brave going through with childbirth and rearing here, especially since they are not fluent in Japanese.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks for your reply. If it wasn't obvious from my post when I said that "we" "don't want to return to our home country" no my husband is not Japanese.
                              Either way I do appreciate your reply.




                              Originally posted by Old Style View Post
                              In my case, having kids is the happiest and worst thing I have ever experienced in my life.
                              It goes without saying, that the first step, making the baby, brings the utmost pleasue a man can have.
                              -pause for your deep sigh, complete with a little smile(Sorry, I can't help myself. You know I have the brain of a four year old)

                              For a guy, that's where we think it ends.
                              It doesn't.
                              This creature begins to inhabit our wives,and our lives.

                              If the guy has half a brain, he will listen to his wife, hold her hand and go through her pain with her, each and every step of the way.
                              If he doesn't, he can bring about stress for all three parties involved.
                              That's not the way to go, so if a couple is sure they're ready for the long haul, and can work togehter, it should work.

                              I assume your husband is Japanese, so you need to find out what your city offers as far as benefits.
                              The national health insurance pays for certain things(sorry, it's been a while and my wife handled all of it, so I'm not going to pretend to know what advice to give you) and your city might pay certain benefits all the way through high schoool. BUT, it's a city by city thing as far as I know. It's not much and depends on your household income, but every little bit helps.

                              Talk with him about his family and how much or how little help you can expect.
                              We used babysitters in my home town, back in the day, but Japanese do go for that.
                              You might be expected to have your child glued to your back for the first ten years.
                              You might be good with that now, but you will need time by yourself as well as with your husband.

                              I'm getting way ahead of myself here, but that's what happens after you have kids...the minds slips away gently and you spend your free moments on forums giving advice when suddenly, you can't remember what the original post was!!!!

                              I'm joking, but good luck and have fun.

                              Make sure you're in this together and things will work out.

                              Comment

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