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Parents of children unable to enroll in daycare centers protest at Diet

35 Comments

Parents who were hoping to enroll their children in daycare facilities next month but who have been unsuccessful finding any vacancies gathered at the Diet in Tokyo on Tuesday to urge immediate measures be taken.

One frustrated parent said, “Waitlisted children expecting to enter publicly certified nursery schools are not solely the problem of some people, but rather a societal issue that affects everyone as a whole," Fuji TV reported.

About 100 parents attended the event. At the beginning, a specialist on the country’s strained daycare system gave a lecture and asserted, “As the number of women entering the workplace after childbirth is consistently increasing, we can’t deny that the lack of childcare provisions is an issue that impacts everyone in society."

A woman in her 20s with a 14-month-old child said that she could not get her child into a single daycare center despite applying to 20 nursery schools. She said, “I knew that the daycare shortage was a huge problem last year and was hoping this dilemma would improve, but nothing has changed. I’m beginning to think that being able to work is a luxury."

The number of children on the waiting list for daycare centers nationwide was 23,553 as of April 2016, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

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.

When he came to power in December 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that one of his priorities was to increase the number of daycare centers so that mothers can return to the workforce. He said his goal was to reduce the number of children waiting to get into daycare centers to zero within five years.

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When he came to power in December 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that one of his priorities was to increase the number of daycare centers so that mothers can return to the workforce. He said his goal was to reduce the number of children waiting to get into daycare centers to zero within five years.

So, his five year plan has not eventuated? And, Abe's election promises turned out to be a crock of poop? What a huge surprise, NOT! Unfortunately, I only have one thing to say to the people of Japan, "Did you actually believe Abe's 3 arrow plan was a plausible reality and would solve Japan's economic woes? You should have taken the blue pill! Suckers!"

13 ( +14 / -1 )

" ...... complaints from local residents that the noise from children would spoil the neighborhood tranquility ..."

Child-friendly Japan? Guess that is history (if at all)

And:

"..... increase the number of daycare centers ...." PM Abe in 2012, setting a 5 year limit. But we all know what happens (or happened) to those goals. Words, words, words, and nothing but words.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Not enough schools, not enough day cares but hundreds of hospitals.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Once you have waiting lists, you have destructive behaviour where even parents who would ideally like childcare from age two onwards will try to get their child in as a baby. This is because once you're in, you're in for good so long as you are working or a caregiver for someone, and that makes you ahead of anyone trying to put a child in at an older age.

The staffing ratio for babies is much larger than for two year olds, so the cost to local authorities is much higher. The above also denies women the chance to spend much time out from work to bond with their children. The pressure is to get your child in early because its the easiest way to do it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I saw a story on this on NHK last night. One old guy actually changed his view and said meeting the children made him feel young again. He was teaching them to grow vegetables. As for the other people complaining, have they forgotten they were children once? I think the noise of children (as long as they are not crying) is joyful.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

"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."

Any residential areas complaining of potential noise problems should have their pensions scrapped, since they don't seem to want anyone to be able to pay for them in the future. Let the old geezers live their short lives in 'peace and quiet'. I bet they'll start screaming a whole lot louder than any children would (already do in my neighbourhood near the park).

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Most of the complaints don't come from pensioners but from the 30-40 crowd who don't have or want kids.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I think it would not be unfair to request residents from areas that block planning permission for child daycare centers to pay a additional surcharge through the local tax system.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

So, they ignored all those protests about Japan reducing "pacifism" from its constitution, but a few miserable people who don't like children are "heard" ? Something is wrong ...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The last paragraph is the most interesting in the story. Abe wants to make mothers put their children in day care centers and go to work and his suggestion is that they work in day care centers. It's the most sensible idea that they stay at home and bring up their children.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Superb article. Thanks for sharing.

Kanagawa has a ton of them. Move to Yamato-shi.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Beautifull Write - Up. Interesting story. Kudos to all . Hoping more from you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Somehow I think daycare should be like for 3 years old kids. Having 14 month baby is a huge problem for a daycare

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

view point; for japan to increase it gdp-grosse domestic product and get more people into the work force--you will have to increase daycare for young children quickly...m

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let's just be fair Japan and say it for what it is... You don't give a crap about children and nurseries and the working poor. There has been no effort, and this is one of the richest and most organized countries on earth. The government has spent more time and money fighting over taxing people who offer a spare room to someone than they have on the daycare situation. 80% of the people in power are super old men, and 80% of those old men think a women's place is at home cooking, cleaning, and caring for their kid.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I used to live near a publicly run daycare facility in my neighborhood. They had at least a hundred pre-school aged children and infants being taken care of there, and during the day time their noise got pretty loud at times, but nothing as bad as the neighbors dog barking at 2 AM.

What WAS bad was the parents parking all over the place and blocking the road in the morning and evening when they dropped off or picked up their children, THEY are the problem, not the children!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yasuhisa SHIOZAKI, Noriko FURUYA, and Gaku HASHIMOTO, three lead the ministerial team for health labour and welfare should tender their resignations and take responsibility. 23,553 plus on the wonky womenomics waiting list.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

what a business opportunity, open a chain of day care facilities and make tons of money. whats the problem?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is because once you're in, you're in for good so long as you are working or a caregiver for someone, and that makes you ahead of anyone trying to put a child in at an older age.

BS. Once you're in, you're in for god UNLESS you have another child before your child hits about five. In my area they kick kids out if mothers are on mat leave. Then the parents get the lovely stress of applying all over again for TWO kids. So many in my area with space their kids out to ensure that the oldest keeps being able to attend while mom is on mat leave.

The above also denies women the chance to spend much time out from work to bond with their children. The pressure is to get your child in early because its the easiest way to do it. Again, BS - and judgement. It is harder to get your kid in at this age because there are fewer spots. Far easier to get your kid in at three and up. But at that point, most of the moms are working PT because they quit their jobs before. FT working moms need to get their kids in at 0 if they don't quit and more spots need to open to cater to those families.

I'm not sure why people are knocking the folks who don't want to live next to one. Have you ever lived near a school here? The endless nose is shocking. If I bought a house and a few years later someone decided to open up a daycare, kindy or whatever, I would not be happy. There are PLENTY of half empty schools here. Why not start having daycares in them? There are numerous solutions around this issues but of course everyone has a stake in the pie, companies wouldn't make money if my suggestion were utilized...

In the end, Japan has a daycare shortage for FT working parents. And whatever happened to the kindy idea of them taking daycare kids and opening spots??

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"So, they ignored all those protests about Japan reducing "pacifism" from its constitution, but a few miserable people who don't like children are "heard" ? Something is wrong ..."

It's called selective hearing and they are masters of that art.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Out of Japan's 25,000 kids officially waiting for a place (there will be others, probably many many more from families who've given up), 20,000 are under three. Only 5,000 are waiting to go into a regular class for threes (nensho) and older. The lack of places is a mimanji (two and under) problem. The woman in this story has a fourteen month old. The "Die Japan" woman also had a one year old. Part of the problem at this age is that even parents who pay the maximum amount are still only contributing half or less of the actual cost of care, so local authorities are unwilling to create more places. At three and above, kids go into classes that run with the school year and have one teacher and one assistant to twenty odd kids. That is way cheaper to provide than the one staff to two babies care.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I know people willing to pay hundreds and thousands of yen a month for day care. I may soon be joining the ranks.

The free market is being obstructed, clear as daylight.

This government incentivizes people to construct lots of excess rental property to aid the construction companies. They could choose to incentivize daycare centers and remove the barriers to entry if they wanted to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kanagawa has a ton of them. Move to Yamato-shi.

Exactly! I would like to hear from people living in Saitama, Chiba or Kanagawa for example if they are having trouble entering their kids into nursery school. If you are going to have kids in the future, it might be best to think ahead than living right smack in the middle of Tokyo. Nothing much is being done so I hope people can move to the burbs instead of thinking that having kids are an inconvenience.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I lived in kawasaki, people went door to door asking if residents would mind if a new daycare was built in the area. What a dumb way of going about it! The government is desperate for workers, the old folks are desperate for nurses, but the government is asking the old folks if they can build a daycare to help send people to work and they say no. Anyone else see how ridiculous this is or is it just me? Needless to say, no daycare was built.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

1) maybe stop caving in to residents who will not generate the next generation of taxpayers. Kids are awake during the day, sorry if that interferes with your day/afternoon snooze

2) stop spending all your tax money overseas and actually pay for things Japanese need

1 ( +2 / -1 )

BS. Once you're in, you're in for god UNLESS you have another child before your child hits about five. In my area they kick kids out if mothers are on mat leave. Then the parents get the lovely stress of applying all over again for TWO kids. So many in my area with space their kids out to ensure that the oldest keeps being able to attend while mom is on mat leave

Everything depends upon the municipality one lives in! I have a coworker with 4 preschool aged children, all 4 are in different facilities because the municipality supposedly does not have one facility that had room to take them all.

ALSO, and here's the pain in the arse for him, each facility has a points system, participation in PTA style events, daily monitoring duties, (traffic, safety things etc ets, during peak drop off and pick up times) and other "volunteer" activities. The more points you accrue increases the possibility of that individual child being "guaranteed" a spot in the class for the next year. Don't participate...bye-bye.

Fortunately his twins are now in the kindergarten attached to the local elementary school. (Down here in Okinawa nearly every public ES has a kindergarten attached as well)

Also fortunately for him and his wife, they were able to find a place for their other two children together. But he was running ragged for the past two years because of it, and he considers himself lucky.

After reading this article, I understand why too!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One of the downsides of a government controlled education and childcare system. Good business opportunity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it'd be a great business opportunity but suspect all manner of regulations stand in the way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, interesting. Where I am the points are done by the city, not individual places - for city daycare. The city has been working with private companies to make other daycares which I think is shady. Clearly because of the licensing and whatnot. You get "extra" points for having another kid and they try and get them into the same but that doesn'T always happen. The point system is a mess. PT women are often given more points than FT women if they don't have family around to help and the like... I know of at least two FT working families who had to be waitlisted for 0 yet there are PT working moms who kids enrolled for the three and up. The priorities and system make no sense that FT workers paying taxes don'T get in while the PT "under the spouse benefits" get in - and pay less to boot because the family income is less.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Think about how many new high rise buildings are springing up around Tokyo. This shortage could easily be rectified if planners stipulate some childcare space in these buildings.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I always found this a bit strange. There are plenty of daycares running at 50% outside of Tokyo. If you moved to central Saitama you would pay less for your home, have lower taxes and your commute to Shinjuku/Tokyo would be about 40 minutes. For some strange reason salary man types feel this illogical need to live in Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Perhaps it is the soul crushing 40 minute commute?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

40 minutes is the average for people working in tokyo. Some people spend over an hour each way on the chuo-sen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Perhaps it is the soul crushing 40 minute commute?

40 minutes commute time is not unreasonable. In fact there are plenty that have well over an hour and some as long as 90 minutes or more.

Hell I would be HAPPY with a 40 minutes drive home, and I only live 11 KM from work. On "busy" days that commute in my car takes an hour or more.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

40 minutes isn't that long - mine is longer. However, I don't spend mine smashed together with people I don'T, with various smells, some perhaps groping others, some who haven't brushed their teeth... I have done business trips in Tokyo and lord, I would hate to do anything more than 20 minutes on a daily basis from my experience.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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