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Number of Children on Nursery Waiting Lists Lowest in 2019

Number of Children on Nursery Waiting Lists Lowest in 2019

   Tokyo, Sept. 6 (Jiji Press)--The number of children waiting to be accepted into nurseries in Japan came to a record low of 16,772 as of April 1 this year, down by 3,123 from a year before, the welfare ministry said Friday.
   The fall reflected increased capacities at nurseries and other care facilities for children, according to the ministry. It is still uncertain, however, whether the government's target of bringing down the number to zero by the March 2021 end of fiscal 2020 will be attained, observers said.
   The number of applications for entry to nurseries is growing as the employment rate among women aged between 25 and 44 rose to 76.5 pct from 70.8 pct over the past five years.
   But the 2019 number of children on the waiting lists dropped thanks to an increase in nurseries, mainly in urban areas. Of the total, children aged between zero and two accounted for 87.9 pct.
   There are expectations that children on the waiting lists will increase after the start of the Japanese government's program to make nursery and kindergarten services free of charge next month. But an official of the ministry said that the impact of the program will not be large, noting that its coverage of children aged up to two will be limited to those from households exempted from residential tax payments while all preschoolers aged three or over will be eligible for the initiative.

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AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL


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