Japan proposes to make childcare services free for all three and five year olds Japan proposes to make childcare services free for all three and five year olds

Japan proposes to make childcare services free for all three and five year olds
29 Jan 2018

Japan's Cabinet has approved a ¥2 trillion (US$304 billion) package to expand the scope of free education and childcare services.

The policy package, consisting of ¥1.7 trillion (US$260 billion) from tax revenue and ¥300 billion (US$45.6 billion) from corporate contributions, has not yet been finalised. But in principle, it will make nurseries and kindergartens free for all children between the ages of three and five, regardless of household income.

According to The Japan Times, the administration is also hoping to eliminate daycare waiting lists by building more facilities and boosting pay for nursery school teachers.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe has asked for financial contributions from the corporate sector, which will be spent on making daycare facilities available for 320,000 children by the end of fiscal 2020.

Most of the proposed programmes will start in fiscal 2020 after the planned 2019 sales tax hike from 8% to 10% takes effect.

The details

  • Children between the ages of three and five can go to nurseries and kindergartens free of charge, regardless of household income;
  • Free daycare services will also be free for children from low-income families up to the age of two;
  • Monthly pay for nursery school teachers will be raised by ¥3,000 (US$456) from April 2019;
  • Students from low-income households who are exempt from residential taxes will also be exempted from entrance and tuition fees at national universities;
  • Those wishing to attend private universities, junior colleges, vocational schools or other institutions will receive financial support;
  • The government will aim to provide free education at private high schools for students from households with an annual income of less than ¥5.9 million (US$900,000) who are exempt from residence taxes;
  • Corporate tax burdens will be cut if companies proactively increase investment and raise pay.

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

Japan's Cabinet has approved a ¥2 trillion (US$304 billion) package to expand the scope of free education and childcare services.

The policy package, consisting of ¥1.7 trillion (US$260 billion) from tax revenue and ¥300 billion (US$45.6 billion) from corporate contributions, has not yet been finalised. But in principle, it will make nurseries and kindergartens free for all children between the ages of three and five, regardless of household income.

According to The Japan Times, the administration is also hoping to eliminate daycare waiting lists by building more facilities and boosting pay for nursery school teachers.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe has asked for financial contributions from the corporate sector, which will be spent on making daycare facilities available for 320,000 children by the end of fiscal 2020.

Most of the proposed programmes will start in fiscal 2020 after the planned 2019 sales tax hike from 8% to 10% takes effect.

The details

  • Children between the ages of three and five can go to nurseries and kindergartens free of charge, regardless of household income;
  • Free daycare services will also be free for children from low-income families up to the age of two;
  • Monthly pay for nursery school teachers will be raised by ¥3,000 (US$456) from April 2019;
  • Students from low-income households who are exempt from residential taxes will also be exempted from entrance and tuition fees at national universities;
  • Those wishing to attend private universities, junior colleges, vocational schools or other institutions will receive financial support;
  • The government will aim to provide free education at private high schools for students from households with an annual income of less than ¥5.9 million (US$900,000) who are exempt from residence taxes;
  • Corporate tax burdens will be cut if companies proactively increase investment and raise pay.

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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