TOKYO — Japan’s parliament on Wednesday enacted legislation to set up a new government agency to oversee children-related policies as the country tries to tackle increasingly complex issues such as child abuse.
The new organization, expected to be named the “children and families agency,” is due to launch in April 2023. It will unify policies across multiple government ministries and entities to better deal with imminent issues concerning children, such as declining birth rates, child poverty and sex crimes.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to “double” the budget necessary for measures to deal with the problems without elaborating.
Issues related to education and school, including bullying, will continue to be handled by the education ministry.
The new agency will have more than 300 officials, including those recruited from private associations with expertise in child-rearing.
The minister in charge of the agency will be given the authority to urge other government offices to take corrective measures if their policies are deemed ineffective.
In addition, a new advisory panel to the prime minister will be set up to discuss such issues as parenting, support for expectant and nursing mothers and protecting children’s rights.
The legislation to set up the agency was approved by the House of Councillors on Wednesday after passing the House of Representatives in May.