Policy Narratives in Formation of Comprehensive Support System for Parenting and Child Care in Japan

Policy Narratives in Formation of Comprehensive Support System for Parenting and Child Care in Japan

Mutsuko Takahashi (Kibi International University, Okayama, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/IJPPPHCE.2018010102
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This article aims to analyze the distinctive features of policy narratives by focusing on the formulation of the center of comprehensive support for child-rearing generations in Japan. There have been anticipated effects of the decline in the fertility rate and decreasing population, and the issues surrounding parenting and childcare have been re-discovered as a high priority public policy agenda. In this connection, multi-layered policy narratives have been analyzed with special attention paid to the Finnish system with its consistent support from pregnancy to preschool age. It will discuss how policy narratives have been selective in their focus on specific factors while skipping others when formulating a comprehensive system for parenting and childcare in Japan.
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2. Policy Narratives For Japan’S Declined Total Fertility Rate

The long-term decline in the total fertility rate is one of many policy agendas about social phenomena that most policies and decisions makers have not taken seriously in Japan for many years. The number of newborn babies has continued decreasing for decades despite some modest attempts to formulate policy responses as mentioned above. Lower priority has been given to changes in demography, mainly because the establishment of one’s own family has been left in the private sphere where public policy has little influence. While a huge amount of the national budget has been directed to construction work such as motorways, only a small share has been available for care infrastructure, particularly daycare for small children. The low-profile position of childcare and parenting in Japanese public policy is reflected in the structure of public expenditure.

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