Gov't drops bill to integrate kindergartens, daycare centers


The government on Tuesday gave up a proposed bill to set up new child care facilities, known as "kodomoen," after the opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito Party demanded it be withdrawn during talks on social security reform.

Because of the stagnant economy, many mothers are looking to work but are hampered by a shortage of daycare centers for their children. The government estimates that there are at least 25,000 mothers of preschool age children who are unable to find suitable daycare facilities.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in May said the proposed legislation would combine kindergartens and daycare centers into a new facility called "kodomoen." He said the facilities would be funded by 700 billion yen from consumption tax revenue.

However, the LDP and New Komeito argued that it would be better to expand the number of licensed child-care facilities rather than create new entities, TV Asahi reported. They also opposed the government's plan to have the "kodomoen" operated by the private sector and NPOs, with subsidies from the government.

Currently, kindergartens are for children aged 3 and older who stay four hours a day, while daycare centers are for children aged 0-6 who stay up to eight hours a day.

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ain`t that a shame.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The reality is that these 2 dinosaur parties cannot fathom the idea of women working.

6 ( +7 / -2 )

You got it realteacher!

Daycare (in my experience) are fabulous, but the approach in kindergarten is different and much more "preparatory" for elementary school. In my sons old daycare kids of 5, 6, nearly 7 years old are still made to have a lunchtime nap! It is convenient for the teachers, but absolutely not age-appropriate for the kids. Combning the two would have meant that the older kids would have been treated more like, well, older kids. This will happen too late for my kids anyway, but am disappointed. :( Although not entirely surprised.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So I can't understand, women make up the majority of the electorate and yet some obviously still vote for LDP and it's cronies. I guess women are happy with their lot.

Why wouldn't the private sector do it better?

the LDP and New Komeito argued that it would be better to expand the number of licensed child-care facilities rather than create new entities,

I guess the difference is important to some one in control of the money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with LDP and New Komeito. If there are no openings in the 0-2 age group, what's the point of make more kodomoens? So moms can't go to work until their kids can attend kinder?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I also have to agree with the LDP on this one. What exactly is the point of creating a completely new child-care genre called "kodomoen"? Why can't they just add more child-care facilities, and overhaul the current child-care system to incorporate more age-appropriate activities?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The reality is that these 2 dinosaur parties cannot fathom the idea of women working.

No, that's got nothing to do with it. This was a bad plan, or rather, it seemed like a good idea at the time before they actually researced and asked these kindergartens what they thought. And just as the LDP and New Komeito say, the money needs to go into expanding the system as it is now. The logistics and costs of renovating existing kindergartens to be able to accomodate 0-2 year olds and fall in line with regulations for such centres is just not worth it and the interest is just not there. I think they were trying to kill two birds with one stone, have the private sector help with the creation of places for infants and propping up the dwindling kindergarten market.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The hoikuen (daycare) that my daughter goes to is already doing this. When kids reach yochien age they can either go to the yochien attached to the local school or stay at the hoikuen doing yochien stuff. Almost all the parents opt to have their child stay at the hoikuen and do the yochien "curriculum".

The dinosaurs don't seem to realise that in some parts of Japan this is already been happening for a long time.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Spudman, the private sector will or may not do better because they need to make profit which doesn't go well with taking care of children up to 3. It takes more teachers per child, the facility has to be up to the standards, but there is a limit to what they can take from the parents because they need to keep the fare structure already in place.

A lot of the Hoikuens run by local government in my area is changing to Private ones, but I hear the quality is actually decreasing. One is because the teachers there are paid less thus meaning less skilled than the teachers who are actually civil servants with steady pay. (Of course not all, but overall.) Also becuase each company has it's own policies which is not necessarily standardized.

The government needs to understand that this is supposed to be welfare. That is why the Ministry of Welfare is in charge of Hoikuens and not the Ministry of Education in the first place.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So what was the outcome? Nothing? Just a bunch of talk? Nothing has changed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow... the DPJ not living up to a promise. Who'da thunk it?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I may be old fashioned in my thinking, but I totally despise the idea of infants (0-2) being placed in day care. I really think babies that young should be raised by their own parents or family members, not a 23 year old trade school graduate who doesn't even have kids of their own. I use to live right next door to hoikuen and would often see these care givers puffing on cigarettes during their breaks and gossiping about the kids' parents...not a very good example to set for young minds.

And look, I get it...in some households, both parents have to work, and I totally understand that. But I have seen parents (usually the mother) throw their babies into hoikuens just so they can go out with their friends or get away from thei kids, which is really sad.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

As if the government would actually DO something. They are happy, fat pensions, fat salary, looking forward to being employed as a chairman on a fat salary until death in the private sector. 10 years I have watched and for 10 years no positive action, now I get it. The surfs pay the government play.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@mirai: ideal in theory, often not possible in practice. For starters, what if there are no family living near you? What about all the many cases of child abuse we hear about at the hands of the childs own Mother or Father? What about Mothers who simply need a break from being on call 24/7? Yes, I "throw" my 2 year old into daycare for 2 hours, once or twice a week. So sue me. I like to be able to pee by myself, have a cup of coffee, relax and recharge just once a week. Not really too much to ask given that my husband is out the door at 7am and not back till 10pm plus every day, is it?

It does sound like you lived next to a bad hoikuen though. I have never ever in my 8 years of experience seen a teacher in our daycare even smelling of smoke, never mind actually smoking.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't care if this is scrap. I care about the fact that something needs to be done NOW with regards to the lack of daycare for aged 0-3. Stopping screwing around and build some. Hire those SAHW who claim they are looking for work. Two birds, one stone!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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