Little to no progress had been made on reducing day care waiting lists across Japan some seven months after the government rolled out "Emergency measures" to eliminate the problem, survey results announced on April 18 show.
The central government queried 401 municipalities with long waiting lists on the implementation of the emergency measures as of October last year.
Under the emergency measures announced in March 2016, the government pressed municipally recognized day care facilities with lower child-to-worker ratios than required by national regulations to accept more children.
In many cases, the municipalities have deliberately implemented low child-to-worker ratios, and there are deep fears that increasing that ratio as called for by the central government policy will reduce quality of care.
The emergency measures also permitted more children per workers than under national regulations for facilities catering to infants and babies up to the age of 2, but only 10 percent of the 401 municipalities surveyed had implemented the policy.
40 percent of the municipalities had set up a "Hoiku concierge" - services matching parents to child care facilities - before their inclusion in the emergency measures.
"There are still a lot of new things that need to be tackled, but we will move to expand these initiatives to make it easier for local governments to use and implement them," an official from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's child care department commented.
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