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facilities, known as "kodomoen," after the opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito Party demanded it be withdrawn during talks on social security reform.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.© Japan Today