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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 October 20 - 26  > Change to a society supportive of raising children from beneficiaries-pay neoliberalism policy
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2021 October 20 - 26 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Change to a society supportive of raising children from beneficiaries-pay neoliberalism policy

October 22, 2021
There is no sign of stopping declining birthrates in Japan. In the four years from 2017 to 2020, the number of newborn babies decreased by about 100,000 a year. The main reason for this is that the cost of raising children and education costs in Japan are very high, but the Japanese government does not provide the necessary assistance.

According to the Cabinet Office, the most common reason why parents give up having more children is the high cost of childrearing and education. The first-year payment for national universities is about 820,000 yen and about 1.34 million yen for private universities.

In Japan, the university enrollment ratio is low for children from low-income families, showing that children's right to education depends on their family background. The average monthly salary of a college graduate is about 390,000 yen. In contrast, that of a high school graduate is about 290,000 yen. Disparities in education are directly linked to income disparities, leading to an increase in social inequality.

Abnormally-high college tuitions in Japan stem from the neoliberal idea that "beneficiaries should bear the costs". Prime Minister Kishida Fumio proposes "paying after career progress" of tuition fees but he does not say anything about implementing cuts in tuition fees.

As students are the country's future in all areas of society, and higher education is essential to support the entire society, the country should aim at making higher education tuition free.

However, Japan's public expenditure of GDP on education is the lowest among 38 OECD nations. If public spending on education increases to as much as the OECD average, tuition fees will decrease, a grant-type scholarship program will be created, school meals in elementary and junior high schools will be provided free of charge, and school class sizes will be reduced.

The Japanese Communist Party is calling for a change from "beneficiaries-pay" neoliberalism to one halving tuition fees for universities, colleges, and vocational schools as well as making higher education tuition-free and abolishing the entrance fee system.
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