A group of mothers and their advocates submitted to the government Wednesday about 28,000 signatures from people seeking a better child care system after they were inspired by an anonymous blog post written by a frustrated mother.
The group visited the Diet building and handed over the signatures to Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki.
The blog continues to garner the attention of the public and government. The group conducted the petition online, addressing it to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
In the strongly worded blog, the writer, who claims to be a Tokyo-based mother, complained that her child was denied admission to a nursery school. Her post has become a topic in debates in the Diet and has encouraged mothers facing a similar plight to stage a protest in front of the Diet building.
“My child failed to get a slot in a nursery school yesterday,” the author said in her entry, posted in mid-February. The furious mother went on to say, “I will now have to quit my job. Damn you, Japan.”
One of the supporters of the online petition, 31-year-old mother Satomi Nakagawa from Tokyo, said she wants the government to take steps to rectify the chronic shortage of nursery schools.
“If I don’t return to work in April, I will have to quit my job. I was told by the local government that there is nothing more that can be done,” said Nakagawa, who had to extend her maternity leave through March as she failed to secure a slot after applying for nearly 20 nursery schools.
A 35-year-old mother with a 5-month-old baby shares the frustration, saying, “There is a huge perception gap between the government and us over the current situation.”
Abe has said the government is pushing to support child-rearing but the furor caused by the post suggests that many people remain frustrated by the lack of tangible progress in addressing the issue.