Is Childcare Shortage an Obstacle to Fertility in Japan?

2016-06-08-1465427630-70104-2016060801000629200034471.jpg [Source: Pixabay]

By AsiaToday reporter Kim Ye-jin - "It's truly a war."

It was a statement by a mother in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun last month on finding a nursery school. The interview took place after an angry blog post written by a Japanese mother went viral. In the blog, the mother strongly complained about the lack of nursery places and claimed, "My child wasn't accepted at nursery school. Die, Japan!"

As childcare shortage is stirring social controversy, the Japanese government is making efforts to increase the number of childcare facilities and child carers. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun (better known as Nikkei) reported Wednesday that such movement to improve caregiver treatment is spreading among the metropolitan municipalities.

This is because many child care workers don't get settled at their jobs due to low payments, which is obstructing to increase the number of child care workers. Chiyoda municipality in Tokyo has established an independent subsidy scheme last month which supports up to 20,000 yen (KRW 210,000) in order to raise the wages of caregivers. Kawasaki City is improving child care worker treatment by raising the wages of child care workers by 1.9% last year.

The reason behind Japan's efforts to increase child care workers is because the government revealed its plan to increase day care slot numbers across the country by 500,000 by the end of 2017, and more than 90,000 new child care workers are needed. However, growing demand for nurseries is outpacing the government's efforts.

In particular, the day care shortage is discouraging parents from having a child. In a survey released on June 2 by private foundation 1 More Baby, 41.7% of married people with less than 14 years of marriage said they want to have one more baby if they don't have to look for child care facilities. If found that finding a child care facility itself is an obstacle to fertility due to lack of facilities.