Japan Data

Japan Sees 90% Drop in Daycare Waiting Lists over the Last Five Years

Society Family

There has been a rapid decrease in daycare waiting lists in Japan over the past few years.

The number of children on waiting lists for places at licensed daycare centers and similar facilities in Japan dropped by 52.3% from the previous year to 2,944 as of April 1, 2022, according to information compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. This is the first time that the number has fallen below 3,000 since the survey began in 1994 and it is the fourth consecutive year that it has reached a new record low. The number peaked most recently in 2017 at 26,081, but over the past five years this has dropped by 90%.

Along with licensed and accredited daycare centers, company-established childcare centers for employees have also increased, so total capacity rose year-on-year by 31,627 to 3,227,110. In contrast, Japan’s declining number of births along with hesitation to use daycare centers during the COVID-19 pandemic meant that fewer children were using these facilities and led to a significant drop in the number of children on waiting lists.

By region, approximately 60% of the children on waiting lists were concentrated in urban areas and of the 1,741 municipalities across Japan, 1,489, or 85.5%, had reduced their waiting lists to zero. Only three cities had more than 100 children on their waiting lists: Kagoshima (Kagoshima Prefecture), Yachiyo (Chiba Prefecture), and Akashi (Hyōgo Prefecture).

Municipality Number of Children Waiting Percentage of Children Waiting
Kagoshima, Kagoshima 136 1.01%
Yachiyo, Chiba 119 3.23%
Akashi, Hyōgo 100 1.14%
Amagasaki, Hyōgo 76 0.79%
Machida, Tokyo 75 0.87%
Itoman, Okinawa 67 2.16%
Nanjō, Okinawa 64 2.90%
Nago, Okinawa 52 1.60%
Nishinomiya, Hyōgo 52 0.55%
Zama, Kanagawa 50 2.52%

Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta)

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