Lower house OKs free preschool education bill
Japan Today -- Apr 10
The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation to expand childcare support by offering free preschool education from October as Japan struggles to reverse its falling birthrate.

The free education program, expected to cost 776.0 billion yen a year, is a key pillar of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's initiative to widen the scope of social security services. It will be funded by revenue from the planned sales tax hike in October from 8 percent to 10 percent.

Following Tuesday's approval, the government hopes to have the bill passed through the House of Councillors before the regular Diet session ends in June.

Under the program, the government will make preschool education free for all children aged between 3 and 5 starting in October. Day-care services will be also made free for children up to 2 from low-income households.

If parents send their children to preschools that are not authorized by local governments, a maximum subsidy of 37,000 yen per month will be given to parents of children aged between 3 and 5 and 42,000 yen for those with children aged 2 and younger. School meals will be separately charged.

News source: Japan Today
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