Children on Nursery Waiting Lists in Japan Drops 54 Pct

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Aug. 27 (Jiji Press)--The number of children on nursery waiting lists in Japan as of April 1 fell by 6,805, or 54.7 pct, from a year before to a record low of 5,634, down for the fourth straight year, a welfare ministry survey showed Friday.

The decline reflected an increase in the nursery capacity and a decrease in nursery users amid the novel coronavirus crisis. The number of applications for nursery use dropped for the first time since the survey began in 1994.

As of April, the maximum number of children that authorized nurseries and other facilities for preschoolers, such as “kodomoen” kindergarten-nursery hybrids, can accept was up by 58,000 from a year before to roughly 3,194,000. The number of applicants as of the same month dropped by 14,000 to about 2,828,000.

No children were on the nursery waiting lists in 1,429 of Japan’s 1,741 municipalities at the beginning of April this year. While about 60 pct of the children on the lists are in the Tokyo metropolitan area and other densely populated regions, the number of municipalities with 100 or more children on the lists fell from 22 to four.

The ministry conducted a survey with 180 municipalities where the number of children on the waiting lists declined by 10 or more. Asked about reasons for the drops, 43.3 pct said that the number of applicants was fewer than expected. Of them, 74.0 pct said that a growing number of parents avoided sending their children to nurseries out of concern about coronavirus infection.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press