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Viral anonymous blogger rails against Abe failure to alleviate chronic day care shortage

by

Staff Writer

An anonymous blog post penned by an irate mother complaining that she has to quit her job after her child was denied admission to a day care center has gone viral on the Internet, shedding light on what she called the hypocrisy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to promote the “dynamic engagement” of all citizens.

“My child didn’t get a slot in day care yesterday. Great,” the author fumed in a Monday entry on an anonymous blog platform called Hatena Tokumei Diary.

“I gave birth, have raised the kid and worked my ass off to pay taxes. And Japan, are you still not satisfied?” she goes on to say.

The shortage of day care facilities remains a serious hurdle for mothers returning to the workforce, especially in overcrowded areas such as Tokyo.

The number of children on waiting lists stood at 23,167 nationwide as of April 2015, inching up by 1,796 from a year earlier, according to welfare ministry data.

The author, who couldn’t immediately be contacted due to the anonymous nature of the platform, went on to claim that she now needs to quit her job to care for her child.

Her tirade struck a chord with many skeptics of the Abe administration’s drive to create a society in which “all 100 million people can play an active role,” garnering 30,000 Facebook likes as of Wednesday afternoon.

With her child unable to enter day care, she lamented: “Now look what happened. I can’t play an active role.

“So you can’t increase the number of day care centers or pay us more than a measly sum in child-rearing allowances. But you still want to tackle the declining birthrate?

“Oh, give me a break. Damn you, Japan.”

In response to the post, Hiroki Komazaki, founder of the nonprofit group Florence, which dispatches nurses to homes to look after sick children, said on his own blog Wednesday that Japan invests too little in improving the working environment of nursery teachers, who must grapple with below-par monthly wages.

This has translated into a chronic shortage of qualified nursery teachers, preventing new facilities from being opened, he said.

Shun Otokita, a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, responded on his own blog by arguing that a fundamental solution to the problem is for Japan to take a page from France by more actively utilizing baby sitters, who are often shunned in Japan as untrustworthy.

He wrapped up his post by saying, “Above all, though, the underlying problem is that Japan’s investment in child-rearing assistance is unforgivably low for a developed country.”

  • zer0_0zor0

    Abe is just a mouthpiece for the oligarchy, he hasn’t done anything to improve the day care system at all.

    The fact that the wages are too low for nursery teachers is absolutely right, and they can’t send “temps”, though I’m sure they wish they could.

    The blogger nails the hypocrisy of the LDP on the head–several times…

  • Blair

    Daycare for single mothers. Everyone else, someone stay home and properly raise your kid

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

      • Blair

        I’m empathetic to children who need the love, nuturing and guidance of their parents. Kids shouldn’t be treated as pets to be dropped off at the local dog walker

      • Christina Tsuchida

        This is certainly true. Children are not parcels. Yet, precisely for that reason, they need experience of cooperating with “everybody.”

      • Blair

        I agree they need to learn cooperation among other crucial social skills. Those skills are taught from Kindergarten and through all levels of public schooling here in Japan. What pre-schoolers need is the love and attention that only a mother or father can give in order to develop a sense of security and emotional well being. That foundation is what will enable them to better handle the anxieties that come with socializing at the Kindergarten stage. I believe kindergartens should provide after school care, but that either a mother or father should be at home until a child enters junior high school. For single mothers (or fathers), there should be daycare provided. All others should take care of their own children…and when I say take care, I mean take very good care. Cheers!

      • Christina Tsuchida

        Cooperation is not just a skill like using a spoon. It is a coordination of one’s whole person. Japan mothers and fathers teach it to the tiniest children and these reveal how intelligent they really are. When economics demand it, pre-kindergarten child-care can be very helpful not only to family budgets but to children’s socialisation. They learn not only that they are loved but that they are to love.

      • Blair

        Pre-school children need constant attention and care. There’s no way the staff of a daycare centre can provide the same kind of attention a mother or father could give. Family budgets should include the love and care of a parent who is always there in the formative first years of a young child.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        Maria Montessori did not think constant care and attention is best, but careful withdrawal of interference when the child is concentrating on a self-chosen task. This gradually increases his or her attention span, independence, and ability to become and remain calm.
        Sometimes daycare centres with licensed staff can give better care than parents who are after all rarely denied a license to give birth (ha, ha, ha).
        Economic luxuries like a parent free of paid work are not always available to the most sincere parents!! Yet happy are the poor who receive not only professional child-care but also guidance from Japan day-care centres. (Subordinated moms may get support for sleeping at regular hours, for example, over the whims of Confucianist “superior” spouses.)

      • Blair

        Careful withdrawal of interference is something a parent in the home gradually does to make their child more independent. A licensed staff of say 5 are not capable of giving 30 children the care an attention they need. In Japan, mothers do in fact get child rearing guidance. That said, the natural bond of love a mother (or father) has for the child is the most suitable guidance for taking care of a child. “Professional child care” for all families is impractical (the cost of caring for a single child is far more than what 10 women (or men) in the workforce would contribute to covering…it’s more cost effective for the state that a parent stay home) and unnecessary in a family already with an income (the single income family worked perfectly well up until we all decided that we want more and better stuff) Daycare for single parent families is what is necessary. Parental care is what is most necessary for children.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        A college professor taught us that “love is not enough” (viz., one needs to seek wisdom). Below you propose innovative thinking. Why then reject professional day-care as far better than babysitters? This is an age of fewer three-generation families. The inadequacy of even natural parental love in nuclear families can be supplemented with supportive day-care IF that is available also to two-parent families. Instead of using Dr. Spock as a sort of Bible of child-care, professionals have time to do research. Working parents have changes of occupation to refresh their minds for better responses to their offspring.

      • G-SANtos

        I think we’re seeing the result of both parents working in the increase of psychological and behavioral disorders of young people.

        Or maybe there’s just more disorders being diagnosed due to to increased research and knowledge about them. Many people, for example, think there’s an increase of autism cases when actually it’s just that there is more knowledge about autism these days than there was in the past.

      • Blair

        True. Or there could actually be something to the residual effect in young children from the feeling of being dumped. The thing is do you want to gamble your child’s emotional and psychological well being or do your utmost to nurture and build their sense of well being, security and confidence?

      • G-SANtos

        Except it’s more likely that there’s more visibility. You must take into account that many people didn’t understand mental illness, and some still don’t, to the point there’s mental illness denial, and some people think ADHD is just “diagnosing childhood”. Autism was once thought to be caused by maternal abandonment, but according to modern research, autism is genetical.

        Although some environmental factors can cause mental disorders, many of them are actually caused by biological factors.

      • Blair

        Again, the key issue here is whether or not dumping a kid off at a daycare centre at a pre-school age has the potential to emotionally affect the well being of a child or whether nurturing the child at home would help develop a greater sense of security and emotional well being. I don’t have any data to back up my supposition that not having a parent in the home leads to emotional and psychological disorders, but I’m suggesting it does all the same. The question is whether or not people want to risk it. “Well, I’m sure they would soon adjust and in the end develop a greater sense of independence and social interaction” could be one way of rationalizing it. However, it could just as easily turn out that the child feels a sense of abandonment and becomes withdrawn and fearful, and develops a sense of resentment. How much love and care can a staff member give a toddler or baby when there are 30 other kids to care for?

      • zer0_0zor0

        “Uninformed” is putting it too mildly.

      • zer0_0zor0

        “Uninformed” is putting it too mildly.

      • zer0_0zor0

        “Uninformed” is putting it too mildly.

      • zer0_0zor0

        “Uninformed” is putting it too mildly.

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

    • Ron Lane

      Lacking completely in empathy, this was one mean-spirited, uninformed post.

    • Christina Tsuchida

      This is not the plan of our current gov’t. We have, for example, no tax deduction for financially dependent spouses! Women are needed in the workforce, due to ageing society.
      To raise a “respectful, responsible human being” not only one mother, but a group experience is vital, esp. in this age of few or no siblings! I worked part-time and had to send our child to daycare or kindergarten in Boston and Nagoya. I hated parting with him even that much, but it proved good for both of us. (The time of separation was limited by the city hall in Nagoya, reserving all-day-long care for full-time-working moms. This prevented us from choosing a place with Montessori philosophy, but I was glad. I mention this to show that the gov’ts. try to set priorities!)
      By the way, I must eat my (Disqus blog) words as this article proves false my former impression that Tokyo, as had seemed from TV, had abundant day-care facilities for children! Merely, many are being PLANNED.

    • shatonbytories

      Nice one Blair, like it. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say you are being willfully ignorant.
      What alternate universe do you live in if you think even 1% of couples who both work full time do so because they want an extra car or to go to Hawaii. It’s parental couples who have the luxury not to have to both work who are most likely to have an extra car or trips to Hawaii.
      How dare you assume that folks are going to work for such frivolous reasons rather than to raise needed cash for their kids. Do you think most don’t wrestle with the guilt of not being with their kids more?
      Prices go up, wages stagnate, and most new parents are now contract workers with no job security let alone a “bonus”. This ain’t some sort of utopian 1950s where dad (let’s face it, you don’t really mean mum as well do you) has a union protected job with a salary rising in line with the wealth generated in the country.

      • Blair

        The government provides medical coverage, education and welfare for families who do not have enough to provide for their children. I’m not sure you’re aware of this or not, but these can all be provided for you as well as subsidized housing. Anyone can survive on a single family income or no income at all in this country. While there may be a paucity of daycare there is certainly not in terms of welfare and social services.

      • shatonbytories

        Regarding your point on adequate welfare and subsidized housing being available – Agreed, Japan is more generous than most people assume (including paternity leave which I have taken – although it was and is frowned upon by male colleagues)
        But if the state can provide enough welfare so that one person doesn’t need to work it kinda contradicts your initial point above: To quote “Quit mewling that the country doesn’t raise your child for you.”
        As for new innovative ways of dealing with the problem. Again I agree with the premise. The implementation here (or anywhere outside scandanavia!) is unlikely any time soon.
        In my own situation, we’ve applied to local govt. registered nurseries for my son as my wife will return to work (after 1.5 years maternity leave on 60% pay – unheard of in the States), but we are unlikely to get a place, and since the private nurseries are dire, one of us will likely have to quit jobs anyway. So it’s swings and roundabouts. I’d dearly love to spend most of my time wth my boy as would my wife, but money will be tight, very tight.

      • shatonbytories

        Regarding your point on adequate welfare and subsidized housing being available – Agreed, Japan is more generous than most people assume (including paternity leave which I have taken – although it was and is frowned upon by male colleagues)
        But if the state can provide enough welfare so that one person doesn’t need to work it kinda contradicts your initial point above: To quote “Quit mewling that the country doesn’t raise your child for you.”
        As for new innovative ways of dealing with the problem. Again I agree with the premise. The implementation here (or anywhere outside scandanavia!) is unlikely any time soon.
        In my own situation, we’ve applied to local govt. registered nurseries for my son as my wife will return to work (after 1.5 years maternity leave on 60% pay – unheard of in the States), but we are unlikely to get a place, and since the private nurseries are dire, one of us will likely have to quit jobs anyway. So it’s swings and roundabouts. I’d dearly love to spend most of my time wth my boy as would my wife, but money will be tight, very tight.