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The line of children waiting to get into government-subsidized day care is swelling for the first time in five years, a sign of these recessionary times, some observers say. But for others it is merely the latest blow in a long-term problem, especially for working mothers unable to leave their toddlers in capable hands.

Last October, more than 40,000 children were unable to register with government-approved day care facilities, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

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