Thursday, February 21, 2013

How Serious Is the Lack of Pre-School Care?

Something—alcohol?—has made me angry today. This is the outcome. Hopefully, I will not regret it tomorrow morning, when the bourbon (and the cheaper whiskey) has worn off.

Very serious, according to the mothers in this ANN report. Well, it depends on when, where, and how you look at the issue. My tentative conclusion is that it is indeed a serious problem that deserves the kind of attention that these mothers are demanding. Let me explain.

When? More serious in October 2011, when 46,620 pre-school children were looking for day (night?) care in vain, in contrast to April of the same year, when the number of children of the waiting list was only 25,556. The Japanese school year begins on April 1. Case closed.

Where? In Metropolitan Tokyo and its environs, apparently. Tokyo accounted for the parents of 10,489 children who, in October 2011, could not find a place to drop them off so they could go to work (or school, or whatever), while neighbor Kanagawa Prefecture accounted for 5,380, or an aggregate 34.0% of the national total. The aggregate population of the two prefectures in 2010 was 22,236,826, or 17.3% of the national total of 128,057,352. So yes, it’s a metropolitan problem, and a disproportionately (if you really want to know)Tokyo—Kawasaki—Yokohama one. Case closed. Wait, really?

How? There’re always people waiting on any Yamanote Line platform, a 3-5 minute wait for the next train, but very few people will be waiting 3-5 minutes after the last train left on those local lines, where the next one arrives in, say, another 30 minutes. Now, imagine what life would be like if that train came in one a year, and left, oh, 46K (or 16K Tokyo-Kanagawa) preschool-care children on the platform? And we haven’t even mentioned the children of parents who gave up before trying.

Case closed. (The idiots.)

Seriously, what industry runs at full capacity year after year while leaving demand unmet?

No comments: