Nursery capacity to rise

Kyodo News

The government said Friday new guidelines on the declining birthrate will seek to boost the capacity of certified nurseries by 260,000 children to 2.41 million over the next five years.

The government also will set up a committee to study a new support structure for child rearing, including the integration of the functions of kindergartens and nurseries, which are currently administered separately under the education and welfare ministries.

The guidelines, which were reviewed for the first time in five years under a basic law on the issue, put out this and other numerical targets for the first time and projected ¥700 billion in fiscal 2014 to realize the targets, but stopped short of specifying funding sources for each fiscal year.

“Not only improving the situation of nurseries, we have created new guidelines considering how companies and their employees should work,” said Mizuho Fukushima, minister in charge of population. “Through cooperation between the central and local governments, we want to create the environment where society as a whole will support child rearing.”