FOCUS: Ruling, Opposition Parties Alike Vow Greater Child Care Aid
Tokyo, July 1 (Jiji Press)--Major Japanese political parties have proposed boosting child care support in their campaign pledges for the July 10 House of Councillors election in order to prop up the falling birthrate.
According to welfare ministry data, the number of babies born in Japan hit a record low of 811,604 in 2021, down 29,231 from the previous year for the sixth consecutive year of decline.
With no signs of the number of births hitting bottom anytime soon, both ruling and opposition parties are seeking to muster voter support by offering a full gamut of policy measures to ease financial burdens on child-rearing families, including one-off benefits to help finance childbirth, tuition waivers and enhanced scholarship programs. Paying for the envisaged measures is another issue, however, and the parties have been circumventing it.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is committed to creating "a society with children placed at its center," calling attention to the planned establishment of an agency dedicated to managing child and family affairs in April next year. The LDP aims to double the budget for projects related to children.
The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan likewise pledged the doubling of spending on child-related measures, and its manifesto for the Upper House election includes the goal of increasing such outlays to 3 pct or more of gross domestic product.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]