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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 21 - 27  > Abe Cabinet calls it ‘free childcare program’ while imposing lunch fees
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2018 November 21 - 27 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Abe Cabinet calls it ‘free childcare program’ while imposing lunch fees

November 23, 2018
The Abe Cabinet has backpedaled on its commitment to set up free childcare and free education programs for preschool children. According to a draft of the programs that the government recently drew up, parents will have to keep paying for their children’s lunches. Currently, the monthly charge is set at 7,500 yen per child.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo last year promised to take measures so that parents will be able to send their children to childcare centers or kindergartens without financial burdens from October 2019. Therefore, to not include lunch fees in this scheme is a breach of the promise.

The Abe Cabinet on November 22 presented the draft at a meeting of a government panel concerning policies for child-rearing support. At the meeting, panel members criticized the draft for not including lunch charges in costs to be exempted. Sato Hideki, a panel member, said that the draft misses the point in the light of the need to improve children’s experiences in childcare centers. The panel consists of childcare service providers, experts, and other parties concerned, and it was set up under the Cabinet Office in order to reflect their opinions in government policies.

Past related article:
> Pro-business gov’t policies worsen declining birthrate problem [June 6, 2018]

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