Cabinet: Up kindergarten subsidies

Kyodo

Cabinet ministers on Thursday proposed to the ruling coalition that the subsidization of kindergarten fees be expanded by lifting restrictions for families with two or more children from next April.

The new proposal for fiscal 2014, accepted by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, offers families with children in the third grade of elementary school or younger a 50 percent cut in kindergarten fees for their second-born and full subsidization for any subsequent children.

The current system waives fees for third-born children onward, and if two older siblings are also in kindergarten, but it imposes an income limit if the siblings are in the first to third grades.

Some 300,000 children are eligible for the planned fee cut.

However, the proposal submitted by education minister Hirofumi Shimomura and two other ministers does not specify sources of the roughly ¥30 billion needed to fund the measure.