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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 March 20 - 26  > JCP Tamura: Build more authorized childcare centers instead of subsidizing for-profit corporate-led facilities
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2019 March 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

JCP Tamura: Build more authorized childcare centers instead of subsidizing for-profit corporate-led facilities

March 24, 2019

Japanese Communist Party parliamentarian Tamura Tomoko on March 22 at a House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting urged the government to increase the number of authorized childcare centers instead of promoting the subsidy program for private profit-driven day nurseries.

Tamura said that a Tokyo Metropolitan government survey of parents with small children found that 50% of the parents wanted to enroll their children in public authorized childcare centers and 40% in private authorized ones. On the other hand, she said, in the company-run day nurseries that were set up under the government subsidy program, only 60% of the quota for children is filled. Tamura stressed that what parents want is authorized childcare centers.

Welfare Minister Nemoto Takumi replied that the question that Tamura cited from the Tokyo survey is a multiple-choice question and that therefore it cannot be said that a majority of respondents prefer authorized childcare facilities.

Tamura argued that in order to address the shortage of childcare centers, it is more effective to use money to build more authorized facilities than to spend taxpayers’ money for the subsidy program for profit-driven company-operated ones. She urged the government to reinstate the financial support for the construction of public childcare centers, but the Welfare Minister turned down the request.

Tamura pointed out that operational problems are often seen among corporate-led childcare centers. For example, she added, all caregivers resigned all at once in a facility and another facility abruptly suspended its operation. Tamura stated that this is because the subsidy program in question enabled companies to easily enter the childcare business just to make a profit. Under the program, companies can apply online for approval to run a childcare center without being interviewed by government officials. In addition, standards for corporate-run day nurseries are less strict than for authorized ones. The former needs to have only half the number of certified childcare workers compared with the latter.

Tamura noted that a public interest organization that is responsible for the oversight of company-run day nurseries outsources part of its jobs to the major staffing agency Pasona. Referring to the fact that Pasona Group Chairman Takenaka Heizo was an influential proponent of deregulation in the childcare industry, Tamura said, “The promoter of childcare system reforms has been given an important role as a watchdog and that is unacceptable.”

Past related articles:
> Parents make request to Dietmembers for more childcare centers [February 23, 2018]
> JCP presents urgent proposal for better childcare services [April 6, 2016]
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