The apartment that my wife and I purchased in the Toyosu area of Koto Ward in June 2006 is nearing completion. The complex incorporates a day-care center. Because my wife was pregnant, our purchase decision was significantly influenced by the close proximity of the day-care center. After the birth of my son, he was enrolled in a Shibuya Ward-operated day care in Hiroo, and my wife returned to work.

Since last April we have been anticipating the convenience and safety of day care within our own apartment complex. In recent months, my wife and I prepared and submitted all the paperwork necessary to enroll my son in the day care center, which will be operated by Koto Ward. Due to our work commitments, financial situation and proximity to the center, we believed my son would be a high-priority applicant. We were astonished to be informed Feb. 16 that he was not eligible to attend either the day-care center or any of the four day-care centers we nominated within Koto Ward. Since all of the privately operated day-care centers are full, we will be required to continue our son’s enrollment in Hiroo and be forced to commute on crowded subways, from one side of Tokyo to the other, twice daily.

The engineers and city planners should be congratulated for developing this residential area near central Tokyo, but why is it that the government department responsible for providing welfare services has not made provision for child care?

My wife and I were planning another child for late 2008, but since the revelation that child-care facilities are grossly inadequate in Koto Ward, we have now decided against another child. Individually, our decision will have little effect on the Japanese economy. However, a collective decision against having larger families could have a significant effect.

alan nicholls