Upper house

FOCUS: In power, opposition parties pledge to increase childcare aid

Policy

Tokyo, July 1 (Jiji Press)–Major Japanese political parties have offered to increase support for childcare in their campaign pledges for the July 10 House of Councilors election to back the decline of the birth rate.

According to data from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the number of babies born in Japan hit a record high of 811,604 in 2021, down 29,231 from a year earlier for the sixth consecutive year of decline.

With no signs that the number of births is hitting rock bottom anytime soon, ruling and opposition parties are seeking to muster voter support by proposing a full range of policy measures to ease the financial burdens on families who raise children, including one-time benefits to help fund childbirth, tuition waivers and enhanced scholarship programs. Paying for the measures being considered is another issue, however, and the parties have worked around it.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has pledged to create “a society with children at its centre”, drawing attention to the planned creation of an agency dedicated to managing the affairs of children and family in April next year. The LDP aims to double the budget for projects related to children.

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan has also pledged to double spending on child-related measures, and its manifesto for the Upper House election includes a goal to increase such spending. 3% or more of gross domestic product.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press