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Angry parents demand more daycare as Abe struggles to respond

58 Comments
By Elaine Lies

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Abe and the LDP beware. Nothing more powerful and frightening than pissed off moms. It would be great to see the demise of Abe and the LDP at the hands of such a grass roots movement...if it does turn into a movement.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

Adults have to want children around. A friend runs an English school but has stupid neighbours that complain during school hours which are the same as working hours. Kids like to laugh and play, apparently against Japanese policy. Making it a law to hold the nosy neighbours at bay would do a lot to let companies start up childcare

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Maybe if the parents gave up the idea of owning a BMW and buying a brand new Gucci bag every month they'd find that they don't need 12 million yen a year to raise kids.

It's interesting to note that Japan's population boomed in the 50s and 60s when there was no daycare and mothers raised their children at home.

Granted in those days mothers don't think that owning a Louis Vutton wallet was a necessity.

-22 ( +6 / -29 )

Private enterprise and companies should fill this demand.

-2 ( +4 / -7 )

Private enterprise and companies should fill this demand.

Yet they are not. Why?

16 ( +17 / -1 )

@trouble and Artistatlarge

I've been working with kindergartens here for about 13 years. I asked the principal why private interprise was making any money and stepping up to fill the gap. He seemed to think that to pass as a licensed place you have to adhere to a lot of rules which drive up costs, such as hiring enough of and licensed employees.The startup money would be high and it would be awhile before you break even. A private place seems to charge way more.Theres no shortage of private kid schools in the cities. But from what I seen they charge from ¥50,000 and a public nursery would be less than half that. I however think there's money to be had in owning your own daycare.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

ArtistAtLargeMAR. 26, 2016 - 07:14AM JST Private enterprise and companies should fill this demand. Yet they are not. Why?

In a way they do. It's just that the profit-driven race to the bottom results in daycare centers staffed by abusive workers who force-feed kids wasabi and careless workers who leave bathtubs unattended.

But perhaps we should demand parents accept a few abused or drowned kis if it fits our free-market ideology.

1 ( +7 / -5 )

Burning Bush how long have you lived here? Pretty sure most parents here (myself included) are scratching a living and a BMW or brand bag is the last things on our minds.

Plus in the 50s and 60s a sole breadwinner could support the entire family and daycare wasn't needed. It is now.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

A friend runs an English school but has stupid neighbours that complain during school hours which are the same as working hours. Kids like to laugh and play, apparently against Japanese policy.

@sf2k

I have never seen more stick-in-the-mud adults complain about the joy, laughter and play of children than I have in Japan. There is still a "children should be seen an not heard" mentality here, which even extends to the few children playing in neighborhood parks.

One thing that really gets me is people who buy a home next to a school, park or other similar location, and then complain about the noise. Really?

Widespread negativity toward children here, where they are commonly seen as nuisances, is clearly one major factor behind Japan's low birthrate.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The situation is a lot easier in countryside than in Tokyo. In Tokyo, the population is still increasing and in Koto-ku area particularly, high rise apartment houses (so called mansions) are increasingly built. A result is a sudden increase of huge number of households and schools for their children and nurseries cannot catch up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When I go to my kids public kindergarden I feel like I'm living in a poor underdeveloped country. Sure, the teachers are nice and do their best, but installations show that there has not been budget in for decades. They have toys that are older than me.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Do you have anything to support what you say, katsu78?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@sensato

yes that was the same situation for my friend. Someone moved in, with the explicit knowledge there was a school next door, and then proceeded to complain all the time. If noise of any business, construction or school ends by 9pm there should be no reason for complaints. Since it's for children that would be over by dinner time. It's no wonder no one can do anything if busybodies rule over common sense. Hence the need for nuisance laws otherwise there is no business case.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Private enterprise and companies should fill this demand.

Make it profitable for them though government subsidizes and make it easier for them to hire staff and give them a living wage and most importantly do not make them charge and arm and a leg to just break even and private companies would fill the bill.

Yet they are not. Why?

As mentioned above here, it takes a lot to open a day care center and the licensing process is rigorous for many. Some people do it out of their homes, but it limits the number of babies or children they can watch. Here in Japan though those a few and far between as there are issues of safety, educational needs, etc etc etc

The government is loathe to put money into industries that do nothing, like education and that is going to be the downfall here.

Japan SHOULD be taking a page from Scandinavian countries and their outlook about childcare and education, it should be FREE.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Its just maddenning how disconnected the LDP is onthis (and other) issues. They tell people to have more kids but then when it comes time to even just discuss the types of policies mothers need, not a single LDP politician attends.

Burning Bush - what are you talking about? Most moms in Japan don't have any of that. My wife had to quit her job when we had our kid, she doesn't own any designer bags and we don't own a car. Most parents in this country are like that.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Isn't there a market-solution here...? Oh, I forgot.

No immigrants.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Living wage? Subsidies? Huh? It's like the Soviet Union all over again. it didn't work comrade.

The parents should be a little more creative. Hold a meeting in their area and pool their money to rent a space and hire the people to babysit. It isn't rocket science.

Subsidies? Why should I pay for your kids? Fine, I'll subsidize your kid and you subsidize my golf fees.

The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money.

-16 ( +3 / -20 )

The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money.

Then how do Canada and European countries do it? Americans keep trotting out this fallacy, not realizing that there is direct evidence proving it wrong, right here in our world today.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Why should I pay for your kids? Fine, I'll subsidize your kid and you subsidize my golf fees.

Mmm, because those kids will one day be paying your pension, and your golf benefits no one but you?

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Maybe if the parents gave up the idea of owning a BMW and buying a brand new Gucci bag every month they'd find that they don't need 12 million yen a year to raise kids.

To a certain extent, you have a point. I am acquainted with many one-child families, admittedly in the upper-income bracket, and when I ask those parents why they don't have a second child even though they can easily afford to, the term that comes up time and time again is "quality of life" or 生活の質. They don't wish to forgo the second/third car, the annual overseas trips, or the quality education for their only child. And why should they have to? It's good that they know their limits.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'll subsidize your kid and you subsidize my golf fees.

My child represents Japan's economic future. Your golf hobby doesn't.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

A lack of child care facilities is only part of the problem. Equality in the workplace is a bigger problem. I know women who work just to pay for day care because their salary is so low and they are on short-term semi-full time contracts that can be terminated at the drop of a hat. If a woman has three kids she wants to put into day care it costs around ¥50,000 per month per child. Their salary is around ¥200,000 per month before tax, meaning they only work to pay for day care. And then, she gets fired for no reason because Abe made it easier for companies to hire and fire semi-full time employees, which leaves the family up Poop creek! Well done Abe!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Typical! Fascist Abe doesn't mind getting Japan involved in a foreign war, but won't help mothers support the economy by working. Now we have "womenomics" — does that mean that "Abenomics" is dead and buried, as everyone expected? To say that Abe is "economical with the truth" is more than he deserves.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yet they [private enterprises] are not [filling the demand]. Why?

Because parents won't pay market prices for childcare.

I still don't see how this is Abe's fault.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Parents won't pay market prices? With all the government regulations in the way who knows what market prices would be.

katsu78, remind me, were those examples of low quality day care workers abusing and drowning kids a product of the heavily government organized system, or a free market one where people have choices about the services they elect to use?

That's right - those failures were as a result of the useless system created by the bureaucracy not a free market solution. In a free market, people either pay for service or get no service. But clearly the only device providers tha would survive and thrive would be those that actually offer service, and also don't abuse and drown kids.

Sheez

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Here's a solution everybody can live with.

Close all daycares, and shift the funding directly to the parents.

Imagine if each stay at home mom were paid 50,000 yen per month per child.

Children would benefit by spending time with their parents, getting home cooked meals and playing the neighborhood without having to deal with the stress of preparing for daycare everyday.

Mothers could spend more time with their kids and give them loving attention instead of having to pass that off to strangers.

Current daycare workers would be freed up to fill the gap in elderly care and other fields.

The space that daycares take up could be freed for other uses.

Families would have a financial incentive to have more children.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Rinse-and-repeatonomics™:

One: Pledge (but don't deliver).

Two: Dismiss discordant voices.

Three: (Struggling) Return to One.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Parents won't pay market prices? With all the government regulations in the way who knows what market prices would be.

Abe didn't make the regulations.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Imagine if each stay at home mom were paid 50,000 yen per month per child. that wont work 600,000yen/year would nt allow the government to get any income taxes to recoup there costs, itd be just another welfare handout

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The local government in Edogawa Ward has been moving to privatize the public nursery schools for some time now. These are seen as a tax burden, and yet the local government subsidizes children's heath up through the end of junior high (15yrs-old). The biggest problem is that public nursery schools / daycare facilities are under the umbrella of the Welfare Department and not the Education Department. This, for me, means that these facilities are taking money away from low-income residents, whose numbers are increasing. I'm sure this is true everywhere in this country. However, in less urban areas, the number of low-income residents is relatively low, so the governments can support the public nursery schools / daycare facilities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

why you having kids and have no time for them? do you have any idea what damage you do to those kids? kids dont understand that parents needs to work.... they just wonder why they not being loved.... idiotic society. no wonder there are no happy families on this planet!!! watch what nature is doing and copy that! a lions mother bring his kids to lions kindergarden so she can go hunting? hahaha you people have all zero connection to your kids!!!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

fxgaiMAR. 26, 2016 - 10:05AM JST katsu78, remind me, were those examples of low quality day care workers abusing and drowning kids a product of the heavily government organized system, or a free market one where people have choices about the services they elect to use?

Actually, both situations happened at daycare centers explicitly reported to be unapproved and thus unregulated by the government. But I can see how someone who wants to push ideology over pragmatic solutions could be inclined to misremember them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party has made “a new support system for children and child-raising” part of its campaign platform

Wow, how vague can you get? Spoken like true politicians. I can't wait till Abe and his cohorts are out of office.

while the opposition Democratic Party has proposed a bill to raise daycare worker salaries.

Now this is would be at least a good start if it passes. Daycare workers are mostly underpaid and overworked, if not underappreciated. It'd be a step in the right direction to at least improve their wages and working conditions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

why you having kids and have no time for them?

I see your point.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I am afraid if the depopulation is to be adressed, free/subsidised day care, coupled with a relaxation in planning permission/rules to encourage developement of new facilities.

Large Companies are sitting on mountains of cash, so creche facilities for working Mothers. Tax will have to rise, and some of that burden will fall on the high earners to make a larger contibution. Swings and roundabouts, the alternative is mass immigration. So it decision time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Welcome my son,welcome to the machine.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

katsu78,

On the contrary, that those operators existed at all is proof that the govt regulations are a failure. There is no free market here.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan SHOULD be taking a page from Scandinavian countries and their outlook about childcare and education, it should be FREE.

Are you willing to be Scandanaivan tax rates? Sixty percent or more on income, twenty percent or more sales (VAT) tax?

Adults have to want children around. A friend runs an English school but has stupid neighbours that complain during school hours which are the same as working hours. Kids like to laugh and play, apparently against Japanese policy.

Another prejudiced statement about Japanese. If you check US newspapers as I have done, you will find that Americans also sue to stop daycare centers in their residential neighborhoods. In Germany daycare centers have been forced to close as a result of noise complaints. In the US zoning regulations and in the UK planning permission would probably prevent your friend from operating his English school in a residential neighborhood.

Ultimately Abe could instantly end this mess if he only had the courage to adopt the American model. You don't read about Americans complaining that they cannot get their kids into public daycare, right? Well, there's a very simple answer. The US does not have nationally mandated public daycare. And, it's the only advanced country with no nationally mandated maternity leave with pay.

I would also note that the waiting list problem is no worse under Abe than it was under the DPJ regime. Where were all you critics when the DPJ was in power and did absolutely nothing to fix the system?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

a lions mother bring his kids to lions kindergarden so she can go hunting?

Actually, they do. Lion prides consist of a group of females (often sisters) and one male. The females do the lion's share (sorry) of the hunting, with one female generally staying behind to look after all of the pride's cubs. Beware if the male dies or is forced out: the new male will recognize the existing cubs do not share his DNA and kill them all.

Make it simple: Heavily subsidize nursery school and make kindergarten free.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tokyo Governor Masuzoe is unilaterally changing a daycare plan for a plot of land Shinjuku Office had to a new Korean school plan. The Tokyo residents and the entire nation are very angry at him, and Tokyo office is now being inundated by lots of complaints.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

”Imagine if each stay at home mom were paid 50,000 yen per month per child." that wont work 600,000yen/year would nt allow the government to get any income taxes to recoup there costs, itd be just another welfare handout

The subsidies that the government pays for childcare are much more than 600,000 yen per child per year, and some (many?) of the women using childcare earn very little, i.e., under 130,000 yen a month, which is the limit for dependency. So the current system is very inefficient. The state is paying a huge amount to look after children in place of low earners who could do it themselves. 50,000 a month child benefit per preschooler provided you don't use public childcare would be cheap for the state compared to what we have now. Parents would get to spend more time with their kids, so its potentially win-win.

Personally, I would reduce the subsidies, i.e., increase parental contribution to the cost of childcare, especially for under threes, and simultaneously increase child benefit for parents of preschoolers to compensate. Low earners wouldn't bother working for a low wage because of the new higher parental contribution, leaving more places for other women who are capable of doing more career-based jobs. I would also dictate new rules to elementary schools to stop them scheduling events, parent duties etc. during office hours and ban school closures due to the flu. Depending on how its run, an elementary school is more than capable of making parents (i.e., mothers) busier than when their kids were preschoolers. Mothers taking time for school business will not succeed in the workplace.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

trouble: "The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money."

So, you formally forfeit your pension, then? Good to know. Whether you want to believe it or not, one do you are going to be a useless old fart, and these kids will be paying for you to survive... well, if you aren't busy spitting on their moms for wanting to have them, that is.

tinawatanabe: "Tokyo Governor Masuzoe is unilaterally changing a daycare plan for a plot of land Shinjuku Office had to a new Korean school plan."

And, as usual, instead of looking at the nation as a whole, and the current administration, which is responsible for the current mess and not living up to their problems, she tries to find a way to deflect and for some reason blame South Korea. She doesn't seem to mind to much when Abe demands that Masuzoe front the increase in costs to host a useless Olympics, which will benefit no one but big business, though. Good old priorities, eh, tina?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Abe is rich and does not give a damn about the little people. Period!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I would also note that the waiting list problem is no worse under Abe than it was under the DPJ regime. Where were all you critics when the DPJ was in power and did absolutely nothing to fix the system?

Yeah, right, as DPJ had all of four yearsin power, as compared to LDP's 60 + years. Fair comparison?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Abe is rich and does not give a damn about the little people. Period!

He has to before the election.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

The DPJ promised 25,000 per child in child benefit in their manifesto but reneged almost as soon as they got in office.

fwiw, 50,000 yen for two kids and not working would put many mothers ahead of working a low paid job and paying child care for the two kids. Especially in the city where the kids might end up in different hoikuens. In inaka, they would go in the same hoikuen and the mother would get a discount. That 50,000 from the government would be far far less than the government subsidy required for both kids' childcare.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Let's hope they vote for politicians of other parties in the next election then, so the LDP loses the majority.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And these out of touch old foggies tell the women to get pregnant. It doesn't make sense.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Tinawatanabe: "He has to before the election"

No, he has to PRETEND to care. Big difference, since he obviously cares for nothing but his personal agenda.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yeah, right, as DPJ had all of four yearsin power, as compared to LDP's 60 + years. Fair comparison?

(1) Problem has not existed for sixty years. It appeared in the late 90s.

(2) If Abe could fix the problem overnight as so many in this venue seem to think, than any one of the DPJ prime ministers could also have fixed it overnight but they did not.

(3) Yes it's a fair comparison.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan has plenty of money, the government would rather give it to the United States, to buy a bunch of lemons no one wants: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/aviation/article27262162.html; http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/strike/2015/06/06/japan-fighter-f35-jasdf-f15-f2-upgrade-situational-awareness-sensors/28379749/

A few hundred million here and few hundred million there, soon we're talking real money. But ain't going to no kids...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I lived right next to a nursery school for years in Tokyo. I worked nights so I was home usually during the day. Yes, it was a bit noisy when the kids were outside, but hardly that irritating. But when I heard noise the most was when all the moms picked up their kids (the entrance was just outside my window).

So here in lies the entire problem: the kids would be gotten everyday at 2PM. Try to understand this. If a mom needs daycare, why is she available at 2pm? (obviously she isn't working full time as an executive, as Abenomics claims to desire)

From my understanding, priority for child placement is based on income: lower family income gets preference over higher income. Makes sense on paper, but is clearly flawed. If a woman works a full-time job that pays well (meaning, she's skilled and valued in her field), and her husband also makes decent income, then they will make too much money to get their kid into daycare. On the other hand, if a mother works P/T as a supermarket cashier or simply doesn't work at all, the lower family net income allows them to get childcare.

But until the (mostly male) politicians realize this and fix it and/or build more daycare, any newborn today will be in high school.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Opposition from neighbors fearing noise makes building new centers difficult, while salaries languish, making it hard to attract enough staff." Sick, sick society...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where is His Majesty's loyal opposition; missing in action, totally invisible! In any other 'advanced' nation, people suffering because of the head in the sand policy insanities of such an administration would've long ago boiled over in righteous anger and mutiny. Instead of colluding, as here, by simply offering mind distracting pap, the media would be presenting an incessant drum call demand for change, putting the administration on notice that if they can't deliver, there are others out there brimming with ideas who should be given their chance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If a woman works a full-time job that pays well (meaning, she's skilled and valued in her field), and her husband also makes decent income, then they will make too much money to get their kid into daycare. On the other hand, if a mother works P/T as a supermarket cashier or simply doesn't work at all, the lower family net income allows them to get childcare.

Yes, I'm curious about how this system works, too. I'm acquainted with a young mother of two small children, who got places in public daycare for them when they were infants. She doesn't work, and has no plans to do anything but focus on her hobbies from now on. Weekends are "daddy time" or "granny time" so she doesn't really spend a lot of time with them then, either. She's quite the envy of her friends! (Oh, and she's never paid income tax of any sort, and probably never will).

On the other hand, I know full-time professional workers who have no choice but to put their children in expensive, private-sector care because they missed out on the lottery. Why shouldn't they be given precedence over their stay-at-home counterparts? It makes no sense to me at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Parents should start daycare centers for their own kids. Then the parents can support themselves from the money they get for taking care of their kids.

The market always finds a way when the government or the natural environment cannot. We should give the market a chance.

Also, you shouldnt be allowed to have kids unless there is daycare available. I cant have a car unless I have a parking space. Its basically the same thing. The bureaucrats would get to keep their precious jobs by issuing licences to have kids.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Angry parents demand more daycare as Abe struggles to respond

It strikes me that Abe has been struggling to repsond to anything since he took office. And where is Mrs Abe on this? Why isn't she out there lobbying for Japan's women? I find her silence to be defeaning

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, you formally forfeit your pension, then? Good to know.

False dichotomy, there. The real dichotomy is forfeit your pension because of the low birthrate, or forfeit your pension because the government is bankrupt from overspending.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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