As the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urges more women to re-enter the labor force, the government is set to prepare a draft proposal that aims to increase after-school child care facilities and its capacities.
The draft, set for five years, will include actual numerical targets that both the local and central governments will work on beginning fiscal year 2015. However, the targets will be set at an earlier time, starting in June, to ensure a feasible and realistic goal. In 2013, the government recorded an all time high of 21,500 child care centers for 889,200 children. The number does not include those who are still on waiting lists, which were around 8,700 children.
Many women could not return to work after giving birth because of the shortage of such facilities that will take care of them. Those who were fortunate to go back, sometimes have to resign when their children enter elementary school, as some after-school centers close earlier than when a mother finishes her duty at work. While the government has allotted ¥1.56 million (approx. US$15,200) for each after-school center open after 6:30 PM, still only 62% of the total nationwide operate after 6:00 PM. The government hopes the five-year proposal will not only address the concern of shortages, but will also be enough incentive for the centers to operate longer hours.
[via Japan Times]
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