Japan to Boost Nursery Capacity by 140,000 over 4 Yrs

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Dec. 21 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government decided Monday to aim to boost the country's nursery capacity by roughly 140,000 children over the four years through fiscal 2024, hoping to address the issue of children waiting to enter authorized nurseries and other facilities for preschoolers.

The goal is included in a new child care program adopted at a cabinet meeting on the day.

Under the new program, the government will also aim to reduce the number of children on the nursery waiting lists to zero as soon as possible.

The current child care program, adopted in 2017, aims to achieve the zero-waiting list target over the three years through fiscal 2020, which will end in March next year. This goal is unlikely to be achieved, as 12,439 children were still on such lists across the country as of April 1 this year, according to the welfare ministry.

Although the nationwide capacity exceeds the number of children wanting to enter nurseries, there remain many children on the waiting lists because applicants outnumber vacancies for some nurseries mainly in urban areas, including Tokyo and prefectures neighboring the Japanese capital.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press