December 31, 2007


Eighteen Thousand Children Still on Waiting List for Nursery Schools

Keywords: Government NGO / Citizen Well-Being 

Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare released on September 7, 2007, a report on the status of nursery schools across the nation as of April 1, 2007. On a year-to-year comparison, the number of nursery schools has increased by 149 (up 0.7%) to 22,848, expanding the total capacity by 26,028 (1.3% up) to 2,105,434. Accordingly, the number of children on the waiting list for enrolling in nursery schools has decreased by 1,868 to 17,926. This is the fourth consecutive year for such a decrease. Most of the children on the waiting list (10,873) are aged between one and two, comprising 60.7 percent of the total, and those aged between zero and two account for 72.2 percent.

The report shows that local governments with 50 or more children on the waiting list totaled 74, a reduction of seven from the previous figure. Seventy-five percent of all the children on the waiting list live in large cities in seven prefectures in the Tokyo metropolitan area (Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa Prefectures) and Kinki regions (Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo Prefectures), as well as in major cities in other prefectures. The city with the largest number of these children is Osaka City (744), followed by Yokohama City (576), Kobe City (489) and Kawasaki City (465).

As one of the measures against the nation's declining birthrate, the Japanese government has been attempting to increase the capacity of nursery schools to 2.15 million from 2.03 million in the five-year period from 2004 to 2009. The national government aims to reduce the number of children on the waiting list to zero in the near future.


Posted: 2007/12/31 02:17:52 PM
Japanese version