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Like many full-time working mothers in Japan, Eriko Soyama, 36, had a tough time getting her children into day care to continue her career.

Soyama, a resident of Tokyo’s Suginami Ward, had her first child nine years ago. When her boy was 5 months old, she tried to place him in government-authorized day care to no avail, and ended up leaving him in the hands of an unauthorized facility.

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