Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) plans to establish a system in 2021 to subsidize home remodeling costs in order to encourage people to telecommute. The government aims to provide a subsidy of up to one-third the cost (or a maximum of ¥1 million [$9,500 USD]) to homeowners who renovate their home in order to create or improve their telecommuting environment. Remodels of both detached houses and condominiums are eligible for the subsidy, which would cover such things as extensions, soundproofing, and installation of partitions.
The plan is part of the government’s overall COVID-19 response, which includes pushing the diversification of working styles.
Remodeling for the purposes of telecommuting will also be added to the existing “Long-Term Excellent Housing Reform Promotion Project” (長期優良住宅化リフォーム推進事業). This is an incentive scheme in which the government subsidizes homeowners for remodeling costs for energy-saving and improvement of seismic performance. To receive a subsidy under the current system homeowners have to meet screening criteria; going forward, criteria will also be set for renovation projects for telecommuting.
According to research conducted by the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) and Keio University, as of June, about 30% of people in the Tokyo metropolitan area were telecommuting, which is about triple the number prior to the pandemic. But the MLIT would like to further promote diverse working styles and to help meet the needs of companies and workers vis-a-vis supporting working from home and to help families balance work with child rearing.
Source: Nikkei newspaper, October 4, 2020 (in Japanese)
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