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Debate needed on urgency given to plan to waive nursery fees

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A bill to amend the Child and Child Care Support Law, which would make early childhood education and nursery services free of charge from October, is being deliberated in the Lower House Cabinet Committee.

Opposition parties are not opposed to expanding budget allocations for children. That said, questions and concerns abound about the fee waiver plan, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presented all too abruptly when he called a snap Lower House election two years ago.

There should be a careful assessment of the priorities of different policies.

Many opposition parties are criticizing the fee waiver plan because it would primarily benefit households with relatively high incomes.

For example, about half of the 465 billion yen ($4.23 billion) in annual public expenditures that would be needed to waive the nursery fees for authorized day-care centers would be spent on households with an annual income of 6.4 million yen or more. Only 1 percent or so of the total amount would go to the benefit of........

© The Asahi Shimbun