The demand for baby sitters in Japan is soaring amid a shortage of public day care services for preschool children.

"It is very hard to book a good baby sitter. It is a hard-fought battle," said a 33-year-old working mother who has used them for 1½ years in Yokohama.

Her two children, aged 5 and 2, are looked after by a baby sitter every Monday night, allowing her to balance work with life.