Japan Data

Nearly a Third of Japanese Municipalities Leave Parents Holding a Bag of Dirty Diapers

Society Family

A survey of Japanese municipalities found that around 30% required parents to pick up their children’s used diapers from childcare facilities and dispose of them at home.

A survey conducted by the Osaka-based childcare support provider Baby Job of 1,452 Japanese municipalities with childcare facilities found that 409 of them, or roughly 30%, required parents to dispose of their infants’ diapers at home. Compared to the 2022 survey, 167 more municipalities switched to the system of disposing of diapers at facilities, but there are still disparities between regions of Japan regarding the responsibilities for parents.

The requirement to take diapers home is not only a burden on parents but also time-consuming for childcare staff, who have to sort out and manage the diapers for each child. On January 23, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare issued a notice recommending that used diapers be disposed of at childcare facilities.

Diaper Disposal System at Public Nurseries

Among the 409 municipalities that require parents to take used diapers home, 318 either plan to change the policy, are considering a change, or will consider a change in the future, while 64 have no plans to change their policy.

Will the diaper take-home policy be changed?

The most common reason for having parents take used diapers home, mentioned by 164 municipalities, was so that they can monitor their child’s health. Other reasons mentioned included that it was simply customary or that it is a way to avoid problems concerning waste collection and management. Some of the specific comments from survey respondents included the idea that returning diapers allows parents to keep track of a child’s progress in toilet training or that used diapers would cause problems with regard to storage and odor since garbage is only collected once a week. Some parents also said that they wanted to take diapers home in order to know how many had been used.

Reasons for Having Parents Take Diapers Home

Prefectures with Highest Percentage for Taking Diapers Home

(previous year)
Prefecture Take-Home Percentage
(year-on-year change)
1 (10) Miyazaki 60% (no change)
2 (2) Nagano 56% (-29%)
3 (6) Yamaguchi 56% (-11%)

Created by Nippon.com based on data from Baby Job.

The survey was conducted between February and March 2023 through telephone interviews with the childcare departments of 1,452 municipalities that have public nurseries.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)