Tokyo, May 17 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to set up a government agency for children and families, a signature policy of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
At a plenary meeting, the lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament, approved the bill by a majority vote with support from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its coalition partner, Komeito, and the opposition Democratic Party for the People.
The bill, sent immediately to the House of Councillors, the upper chamber, is expected to be enacted during the current ordinary Diet session, set to end on June 15.
Kishida aims to launch the agency in April next year as an external organization of the Cabinet Office under direct control of the prime minister.
The agency will integrate sections of the health ministry and the Cabinet Office that handle policies related to children.
It will have a minister authorized to request other government ministries and agencies to revise relevant policy measures.
Kindergartens will remain in the charge of the education ministry. The government has shelved the proposed integration of kindergartens with nursery schools, which are under the jurisdiction of the welfare ministry.
The education ministry will also remain in charge of compulsory education.
At the Lower House meeting, Kaname Tsutsumi of the leading opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan said that it is necessary to create a ministry that will cover all issues related to children in an integrated manner, including education.
Kenji Horii of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) said that the bill is only designed to move the health ministry’s Child and Family Policy Bureau to the planned agency without changing the organization or the authority of the education ministry in any meaningful way.
The Lower House also approved a bill to set the basic principles of policies for children that was submitted by the ruling camp.