Children on Nursery Waiting Lists in Japan below 3,000 for 1st Time

Society

Tokyo, Aug. 30 (Jiji Press)--A survey by Japan’s welfare ministry showed Tuesday that the number of children on nursery waiting lists in the country as of April 1 plunged 52.3 pct from a year earlier to 2,944, standing below 3,000 for the first time since the survey started in 1994.

The figure was only 11.3 pct of the record high of 26,081, set in 2017, and marked a record low for the fourth consecutive year.

The drastic decrease reflected a larger-than-expected drop in the number of preschool children amid the country’s declining birthrate, as well as the government’s efforts to expand daycare options. The spread of the novel coronavirus also discouraged the use of nurseries.

The number of children enrolled at nurseries or other daycare facilities fell for the first time, the survey also showed. In line with a decline in the number of births, the number of nursery applicants also dropped.

Still, given the rising employment rate among women aged 25-44, demand for daycare facilities could increase in the near future, observers said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press