Japan to double budget for childcare support
This move comes as the government plans to establish an agency dedicated to overseeing children and family affairs policies next April.
A draft of the guidelines – which will be introduced in early June – says measures to combat the country’s declining birthrate and to support childcare are “at the centre of society.”
To secure stable financial resources for childcare spending, the draft says the government will consider a new framework under which all participants in society and the economy, including companies, will bear burdens equally and in solidarity.
Measures to be considered include introducing a child insurance system, with companies and workers paying premiums.
The new government agency would put together children-related operations spanning several government agencies and eliminate bureaucratic red tape.
The draft emphasises that the agency aims to enhance seamless support related to children through preconception, pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing.
It also lays out a plan to launch a system to check for sexual offences the records of people engaged in child-related jobs.
Public spending on childcare in Japan, including maternity and childcare leave benefits, represented 1.65% of the nation’s gross domestic product in fiscal 2018. The figure is about half of Sweden’s 3.42% in fiscal 2017 and Britain’s 3.19% in the same year, according to The Japan Times.