The number of children whose parents want to enroll them in a government-approved nursery school or other facility but are unable to rose this spring for the first time in five years.
Capacity at such facilities has been expanding under the new child-rearing support system that started in April, but it has not kept up with growth in demand. Parents seeking to balance work with raising children are still scrambling to find nursery schools.
According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, a total of 23,167 children were on waiting lists throughout the country as of April 1, an increase of 1,796 from the same period in 2014.
Capacity has been expanded to 2.62 million, up by 140,000 from last year, but the number of nursery applicants was about 2.47 million, up by about 130,000 from 2014.
Capacity exceeds the number of applicants, but there are believed to be many people who are ineligible due to location, age range and other criteria.
One reason for the increase in the number of children on waiting lists is the fact that the Comprehensive Support System for Children and Child-rearing (see below), which started in April, defines those seeking employment and working part-time as also eligible to use nurseries.
source by japan news