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Just before the recent Lower House election in October, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to make public day care services and kindergartens free for children between the ages of 3 and 5 and free for children below the age of 3 if they were from lower income households.

It was an obvious ploy to win votes, and Abe offered few details as to how the government would pay for such a policy. All he said was that a good portion of the projected consumption tax hike would be diverted into social services, one of which would be free preschool care.

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