The Political Economy of Japan's Low Fertility

By Frances McCall Rosenbluth | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Policies to Support Working Mothers and
Children in Japan

PATRICIA BOLING


Introduction

This chapter provides a guide to current family policies in Japan. In the following section, I lay out public policies that govern child allowances, taxbreaks for dependents, public childcare, and childcare leaves. The Japanese government's public subsidies of childcare look positively generous compared to lower government spending in the United States, where childcare needs are more commonly met by low-paid workers in the private sector. But Japan's declining fertility has led to a great deal of soul searching in government circles, and has prompted regular reviews of childcare policies and attempts to squeeze more effectiveness out of limited funds. While fertility continues to slide and the search for the magic policy bullet continues, the problem remains larger than the amount of taxes the government is willing to commit. The third section examines the policy process that produces and amends these policies over time, with attention to who benefits and who pays. In conclusion, I suggest explanations for why these policies have developed as they have.


Public Policies

Analysts of policies to support working mothers commonly look to an array of related measures: cash benefits given as family allowances; public support for and regulation of childcare services; use of the public school system to provide usable supervision of children while parents work; childrearing leaves; pensions; and tax measures that allow deductions

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