A project team of the three ruling parties has drafted a bill to reduce the financial burden of child-rearing as a way to deal with the nation’s falling birthrate, coalition officials said Monday.
Legislators of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and New Komeito plan to submit the bill to the current Diet session, they said.
In its preamble, the bill stresses the need to create an environment where people feel comfortable in giving birth and rearing children.
“Preoccupied with the problem of the aging society, Japanese people and society are slow to recognize and take measures to deal with the falling birthrate, a significant problem that may shake up the foundation of the whole society,” it says.
The bill calls for establishing a conference headed by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to coordinate government policies to deal with the issue.
As specific measures to help reduce the financial burdens on child-rearing families, it calls on the government to increase the allowance for child-rearing, reduce medical fees for children and give tax breaks to parents with small children.
To deal with problems that are said to be discouraging married couples from having children, the bill calls for improving the overall work environment through such measures as reducing hours and making it easier for mothers to return to the workplace.
The bill also stipulates the need to reinforce support for working parents by increasing the number of nursing-care facilities to take in sick children and those providing services at night.
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