Abe's Cabinet issues list of projects to help women

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet on Friday issued a “package” of policy measures to help women in the nation’s male-dominated society, including new government consultancies to help single-mother families, job training courses and expanded after-school programs for young children.

But the “package” is, in fact, a list of miscellaneous projects that have already been announced by various ministries. A senior official admitted that few are new, though specific implementation dates were reset for some of the projects.

The measures were adopted during the first meeting of Abe’s special office to promote the status of women.

“The entire government will promote implementation of the measures,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

With the policy package, the administration reaffirmed its promise to earmark funds to encourage companies to convert part-time and other nonregular workers to regular employees with better working conditions. Women account for two-thirds of such nonregular workers, who lack the benefits accorded to regular workers, according to 2013 statistics from the internal affairs ministry.

The Cabinet also pledged to create consultancies for single mothers, pregnant women and mothers with young children to provide information on various public services.

The policy paper outlining the package did not specify how much money will be spent on any of the projects.

The administration also pledged to create a certification system of semiprofessional child-minders to help qualified nurses in day care centers, many of which are struggling with manpower shortages.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, reaffirmed the government’s target to boost the number of elementary school children who can enroll in publicly funded after-school programs by 300,000 by the end of fiscal 2019. The system is designed to help households in which both parents work.

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