Childcare crisis puts key Abenomics pillar at risk

“There is now a 700 billion yen ($5.9 billion) shortfall and it’s not clear how it’s going to be made up for,” said Junko Takaoka, Research Manager at the Benesse Educational Research and Development Institute.

Three-pronged strategy

In addition to creating nursery spots, Abe aims to boost female labor force participation by easing qualification requirements for nursery teachers, increasing the number of state authorized “nursery moms” – stay-at-home mothers that baby sit for a fee – and extending partially paid maternity leave to three years from one year currently.

But analysts are skeptical.

“Japan already has an estimated 300,000 qualified nursery teachers who choose not to work in the field because of the poor pay and conditions,” said Amano.

Furthermore, three years’ maternity leave is long, demonstrating how out of sync Japan is compared with other developed countries, said Amano. Americans, by comparison, get 12 unpaid weeks maternity leave, while Norwegians get 40 weeks at near full pay, according to a 2012 Save the Children report.

Read More Risks to ‘Abenomics’ growing, whether Japan PM raises tax or not

“The company makes you feel like you don’t belong to the workplace anymore after one year,” says Eriko Suzuki, a mother of one who says she was targeted to be laid off after returning from her year-long maternity leave. “You would definitely feel you have no position left after three years”, she added.

Furthermore, nursery moms don’t need formal qualifications, just a permit from the local authority, according to Benesse’s Takaoka. Authorizing more “nursery moms” probably won’t change much because most parents prefer leaving their children with qualified staff.

Dual income required

Japan is ageing more rapidly than any other developed country, according to a 2013 United Nations report. The birthrate has been below has been what’s needed to maintain current population levels for nearly four decades, a that trend appears unlikely to change given the high cost of raising children.

“You can’t raise a family on just one income anymore,” said Benesse’s Takaoka.

In the government’s latest survey, over 80 percent of respondents under the age of 30 cited the cost of childrearing as the main reason they won’t have as many kids as they would like, a white paper on tackling the declining birth rate published this week showed.

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Childcare crisis puts key Abenomics pillar at risk
childcare – Yahoo News Search Results
childcare – Yahoo News Search Results

カテゴリー: Childcare   パーマリンク


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