The Policies of Childcare and Early Childhood Education
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The Policies of Childcare and Early Childhood Education

Does Equal Access Matter?

Edited by Katja Repo, Maarit Alasuutari, Kirsti Karila and Johanna Lammi-Taskula

This timely book reveals how policies of childcare and early childhood education influence children’s circumstances and the daily lives of families with children. Examining how these policies are approached, it focuses particularly on the issues and pitfalls related to equal access.
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Chapter 5: The long-term effects of full-time childcare on family lives in Japan

Takayuki Sasaki


Since the early 1990s, the Japanese government has been increasing the number of full-time day-care facilities based on the philosophy of a family-friendly society. Nevertheless, fertility rates and maternal employment rates in Japan are still among the lowest in developed countries. The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the effects of childcare attendance on Japanese family lives in order to evaluate the current family policy. First, the present state of Japanese families – including working conditions and public opinions on family and childcare systems – are illustrated. Second, a series of quantitative analyses are conducted to make a causal estimation of the long-term outcomes of day-care attendance on the total number of children, the intention to have an additional child, maternal employment and family income using individual-level retrospective life history data. Finally, practical implications for family policy are discussed.

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