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POLITICS

Gov’t estimates 440 billion yen to provide free preschool for children aged 0-2

  • September 27, 2017
  • , Nikkei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

An estimate was announced of the public funds necessary to support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s mandate to provide free preschool and early childhood education. It would cost the government 730 billion yen and 440 billion yen to provide free services to all 3-5 year-olds and 0-2 year-olds, respectively. However, for the 0-2 age group, Prime Minister Abe is considering providing free daycare only to low-income households that earn less than 3.6 million yen a year, in which case the cost would be 50 billion yen. Proposals are to be drafted based on these estimates.

 

The Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare calculated the estimates. If households with annual incomes of 6.8 million yen or less got free childcare for children aged 0-2, it would cost 230 billion yen. If free services were limited by household income for the 3-5 age group, it would cost some 380 billion yen and 60 billion yen for families making 6.8 million or less and 3.6 million or less, respectively.

 

Although providing care for the 0-2 age group is more labor intensive compared with the 3-5, requiring more funding, the government estimates that it will not need to incur much of the cost, as the majority of households take on the care at home.

 

It is possible that more households will seek services once free preschool is offered. Should that be the case, it could increase government spending and daycare waiting lists.

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