A ruling party panel reached broad agreement on Wednesday to provide support without exceptions to make preschool education free of charge.
The agreement came at the first meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party’s panel formed to discuss Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s initiative for a “revolution” in human resources development.
Some LDP members had sought to exclude unauthorized child care facilities from the proposed support.
“Our campaign pledge was to make education free for all children ages 3 to 5,” Seiji Kihara, acting secretary-general of the panel, told reporters after the meeting.
The panel will continue discussions on the basis that the support will be provided without conditions on whether facilities are officially authorized, Kihara said.
The panel, led by LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida, plans to compile a set of proposals within this month, before the government draws up a policy package worth ¥2 trillion targeting human resources development early next month.
“We will check whether our ideas are reflected (in the policy package) through party procedures,” Kishida told the meeting.
To fund the package, the government plans to secure about ¥1.7 trillion by using some revenue from a consumption tax hike planned for October 2019 and the remaining ¥300 billion from businesses.
During the panel meeting, LDP Chief Deputy Secretary-General Shinjiro Koizumi called for thorough discussions on the proposed contributions from businesses.
Koizumi has criticized the potential burden on businesses, saying there have been no discussion in the party on the plan.
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