Japan considers giving away money to boost consumption

© Kim Kyung-Hoon
Following the examples Finland, Canada and the Netherlands, the Japanese government is considering issuing money ‘vouchers’ to poor young people, according to Sankei daily.

Tokyo plans to include gift certificates for low-income youngsters in the fiscal supplementary budget this year. The measure aims to halt a significant decline in consumption among the young.

The vouchers are considered to be more effective than cash handouts that could be deposited. People might use the coupons for their daily needs.

Consumption among young people is key to economic growth, according to the Japanese government. Recent surveys have shown that under 34-year old Japanese have cut spending by 11.7 percent year on year.

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Japan is not the only country considering implementing the system known as ‘basic income’. Last November the Finnish social insurance institution proposed to allot a tax-free income of €800 per month. In various cities throughout the Netherlands people will receive an extra €1,100.

In February, authorities in Canada’s Ontario Province voiced plans to launch a pilot program of basic income later this year. Switzerland is due to hold a referendum on the issue this year.

Basic income was initially proposed in the 1960s and briefly tried out in the US and Canada. The idea has gained popularity in recent years as it could level income and wealth inequality.