A nonpartisan group of lawmakers is calling for a day-care center to be established in or near the Diet building for the benefit of politicians and government officials with kids. The day-care center should also be set up for mothers with small children who want to sit in on Diet sessions or lobby politicians, they said. Children under 10 are currently not allowed to attend Diet committee sessions.

According to a survey conducted by the group in mid-May, more than half of roughly 1,800 officials working in and around the Diet in Nagata-cho said they believe it is necessary to establish a day-care facility.

Former Posts Minister Seiko Noda, who heads the group, said there are many workers in Nagata-cho who want to manage both work and child-rearing.

“I was surprised to learn that there was no nursery here when I came back from my hometown to attend the extraordinary session (in September),” said Satoru Ienishi, a House of Representatives member of the Democratic Party of Japan who became a father last July.

During the group’s first meeting earlier this week, a member of a women’s group brought up the case of a mother who wanted to attend a Diet committee with her three children.

She said that while the woman was listening to the session, a Diet guard — with a rattle in hand — had to take care of her children: a 6-year-old, 4-year-old and 7-month-old.

However, critics of the idea charge that politicians would be using taxpayers’ money solely for their own interests.

In a related move, the Education Ministry will start a day-care center in October next to its building to care for infants whose parents work in the Kasumigaseki administrative district.

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