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Japanese government to set aside ¥3.5 trillion annually for child care

The government said Thursday it plans to set aside about ¥3.5 trillion per year for child care policies over the next three years — an amount it says is “on par with Sweden” — in hopes of turning around the shrinking population trend.

A draft of the child care policies, submitted to a government panel of experts, showed that Japan intends to allocate an annual sum in the “mid-¥3 trillion” range for child care, up from the initial plan of ¥3 trillion.

With the added budget, Japan’s child care expense per child will be on par with Sweden’s, which is ranked first among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, calling it “drastic progress.”