Okinawa has 2nd most children waiting for slot in nursery schools

Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced Friday that, as of April, 26,081 children in the nation are on waiting lists to get into publicly certified nursery schools, which is 2,528 more than the previous year. The number increased for the 3rd consecutive year.

By prefecture, 2,247 children are on the waiting lists in Okinawa, 289 less than the previous year, but still the 2nd largest next to 8,586 in Tokyo. The third is Chiba with 1,787, and the fourth Hyogo with 1,572. Seven prefectures, including Aomori, have no children at all waiting a slot in a nursery school.

Applications for publicly certified nursery schools have increased, as an increasing number of women are participating in the work force. In addition, rules were changed to allow parents who are on childcare leave apply for the certified schools.

The government aim is to reduce the number of children on the waiting lists to zero by the end of fiscal 2020. However, many people doubt that the goal is realistic.

In Okinawa, Okinawa City has the longest waiting list with 440 children.