Japan to model ‘child fund’ on French system

PARIS (Kyodo) The government will explore setting up a children’s fund modeled after France’s family allocations system, which finances many of its child-rearing support measures, Mizuho Fukushima, minister in charge of measures to deal with the low birthrate, said Monday.

Fukushima floated the idea during a visit to France, where the system is credited with contributing to a recovery in the birthrate, after talks with her French counterpart, Xavier Darcos.

Fukushima said that after formalizing existing government policies such as the planned child allowances, she “would like to pursue whether creating a children’s fund as an overall package is possible.”

She said she hopes to discuss inviting the business sector to take part in the envisaged fund, alluding to the French system financed 45 percent by companies.

In France in 2008, about 30 million beneficiaries received 68.5 billion euro (about ¥9.15 trillion) for housing aid, child care centers and other assistance.

The Cabinet Office will release its vision for children and child-raising at the end of this month, Fukushima said.