Sunday, June 1, 2014

Update on lawsuit related to problems in administrative screening process for admission to nursery school

I haven't had time to write about the case on the English language blog I started after the Supreme Court handed down its decision, that blog being at, however, I have placed almost all of the relevant filings and findings for the entire case through all levels of the court system and appeals on a Japanese language blog with brief commentary, that blog being at

I also interviewed with a law professor whose books and papers helped me pursue the case, and I will post a translation of the first paper that he has written on the case--which should be released this month--as soon as circumstances permit.

There has been a flurry of activity related to this issue in Japan recently, with claims in another case at the district court level also being questionably refused in a city in Okinawa. There is an article in the Mainichi Shimbun from about a year ago on the seriousness of the issue in Tokyo, where it was an issue that some candidates addressed specifically in the recent mayoral election there. You need to sign up for a free account to archive the archived article (only Japanese signup available, and the English article has been deleted from the site), but here is the links to both the English and Japanese versions and

The title of the original Japanese article is The Childcare Uprising. Groups of up to 30 parents have been filing group petitions objecting to spurious administrative procedures in relation to the admissions process, etc. Tokyo, in particular, has a critical shortage of nursery school capacity at present, whereas it is a right of parents and children to attend nursery school. What we have is a case of passing legislation and not funding what the legislation mandates. 

Since the English language article has been deleted, I will excerpt it below with reference to the above commentary. In English, the article was called:

Doubts surround Abe administration's plans to eliminate childcare waiting lists

The Abe administration has set out to implement preliminary measures toward bringing down the number of children waitlisted for childcare to zero by fiscal 2017, but doubts about the prospects of the measures' success remain.

In municipalities across the nation, the application process for spots at authorized childcare facilities starting next spring kicked off this month. In Tokyo's Suginami Ward, which is set to begin accepting applications on Nov. 13, about 100 parents have come into the ward office every day to consult with staff in the childcare division.
After some 1,500 children were denied entry to authorized childcare facilities in Suginami in April this year, parents lodged a formal objection under the Administrative Appeal Act, an act that became known as "the childcare uprising." The uproar spilled over into other parts of Tokyo, as well as the city of Saitama. But the waiting lists have yet to disappear.


The number of children waitlisted for childcare services across the country stood at 22,741 as of April 2013. However, the actual figure is estimated to be a digit greater, due to families who give up on their slim chances of getting into authorized childcare facilities and don't bother to apply for a spot.
Municipalities have repeatedly seen a phenomenon in which they increase the number of spots for childcare in the short term, and the number of waitlisted children actually increases because those who didn't apply for spots in other years submit applications, counting on having a better chance.
...the required number of places could increase because the new child-rearing support system that goes into full effect in fiscal 2015 stipulates that parents and guardians who are not currently working but are looking for employment are eligible to put their children in childcare. Previously, the eligibility of those looking for work was unclear...

The current lack of childcare services is a consequence of having allocated a mere 4 percent of social welfare spending on child rearing. According to the social welfare and tax reforms passed last year, the consumption tax, which had heretofore been funneled toward geriatric health care, nursing care and pensions, will also be used toward child rearing support.
November 11, 2013(Mainichi Japan)


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