The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare has revealed that the number of children wait-listed nationwide for publicly certified daycare centers has reached a record of 47,738 since last October -- an increase for the second consecutive year.
The number varies among prefectures with Tokyo having the longest wait list at 12,232, the ministry said. Okinawa Prefecture comes next at 4,104 children, followed by Chiba Prefecture at 3,384.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Hokuriku region -- Ishikawa and five neighboring prefectures — do not have a single child awaiting nursery school admission.
This nationwide number is announced twice a year during the month of April and October.
The shortage of daycare centers has become a major issue in Japan. Plans to open daycare facilities in some prefectures have been scrapped or delayed amid rising complaints from local residents that the noise from children would spoil the neighborhood tranquility and cause possible traffic safety problems in the area.
Last Saturday, the Tokyo metropolitan government opened a daycare center for 80 children on the grounds of a park in Setagaya Ward for the first time.
Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike said she hopes to open more daycare centers in such public spaces.© Japan Today