Cabinet OKs child allowance bill; fight looms to gain passage by March

Kyodo

The Cabinet approved a bill Friday to create a new child allowance system starting April 1, replacing the present framework that expires at the end of March.

Although the ruling Democratic Party of Japan hopes the bill clears the Diet by the end of March, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito have signaled they will oppose it.

Without the rival camp’s support the government will be unable to pass the bill through the divided Diet, where opposition parties control the Upper House, and the legislation’s prospects at this stage remain murky.

If the bill is not passed by the end of March, the current system will expire along with the special law enacted for its implementation. The system would then revert back to the more limited program of child care subsidies that was in place before the DPJ won power in 2009.

The ruling bloc is apparently prepared to make revisions to try to win the opposition’s support.