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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 February 21 - 27  > Parents make request to Dietmembers for more childcare centers
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2018 February 21 - 27 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Parents make request to Dietmembers for more childcare centers

February 23, 2018
Parents, with their date of return to work approaching after parental leave, visited lawmakers of both ruling and opposition parties in the Diet building on February 22 and submitted a request that the national government's childcare policy measures be improved, claiming that their children are still on waiting lists for admission to childcare centers.

In the petition, they demand a radical improvement in childcare workers' wages and their working conditions in addition to an increase in the number of authorized childcare facilities. They also urge the central government to reconsider its intent to relax the national standards for the required number of day-nursery workers, arguing that the government's "zero-waiting lists strategy" is just to cram the existing facilities with more children, which in turn, could undermine the quality of childcare services.

Receiving their visit, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Tamura Tomoko told them that the party will take their petition seriously and take up the issue in the Diet.

Tamura criticized Prime Minister Abe Shinzo for neglecting to meet the demands of parents and promoting deregulation in order to facilitate corporate-led childcare businesses. She said, "The Abe government should establish more authorized public childcare centers and enhance the services."

At a press conference held prior to the petition, a private elementary school teacher, 33, said she will start teaching classes this coming April but her child has still not been admitted to any daycare center. She said, "I'm extremely worried about what will happen to my child after I return to work."

A female staff worker, 36, is now awaiting the outcome of the second round for qualifying for admission of her 7-month old baby boy to a day nursery. She said that she may have to extend her parental leave or leave him at an unauthorized facility.

A 39-year-old woman said, "I'm opposed to the relaxation of the standards on the number of staff at each facility under the pretext of reducing the number of children on waiting lists." Seven years ago, she said, her 19-month old daughter died when left face-down at an unauthorized facility during a nap.

Past related articles:
> Gov’t is too slow to achieve ‘zero’ waiting list to enter childcare centers: JCP Tamura [March 4, 2017]
> Drastic measures needed to reduce 90K children waiting to enter authorized daycare centers [September 8, 2016]
> JCP presents urgent proposal for better childcare services [April 6, 2016]
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