I want to make Japan a place where children can have goals and dreams for the future and take steps toward achieving these dreams, regardless of the environment they are in. I strongly feel that until we do so, Japan will not have a future. – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Tokyo: In Japan, the draft budget for this fiscal year contains provisions that significantly enhance support measures such as learning assistance programs for junior high school students so that schools serve as a platform for measures to address poverty.
This was emphasised by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a meeting of the Founders of the National Movement to Support Children’s Future at the Prime Minister’s office here earlier this week.
The Prime Minister said: “Child poverty is a fundamental problem that undermines the healthy functioning of society, whereby people are supposed to be rewarded for hard work. I would like all of society to work together to ensure that a child’s future is not determined by his or her family’s financial circumstances.”
Abe reiterated his government’s commitment to combat the scourge of deprivation that afflicts so many children and said “We will also undertake initiatives for ensuring that students never have to discontinue their education for financial reasons, including the provision of scholarship funds for high school students, and the enhancement of supports such as interest-free scholarships and tuition waivers for university students.
Furthermore, Abe said, we need to provide greater support for the independence of single-parent households and households with multiple children who face financial hardships despite being employed. We must also augment assistance programs for child-rearing, daily life, work, and financial matters, while also establishing frameworks that ensure that governmental assistance reaches families in need.
The Prime Minister gave the assurance that he would instruct relevant Cabinet members, including the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare to consider such enhanced measures, determine a policy direction by around the summer, and finally prepare a policy package that includes plans to secure funding by the end of this year.
The current Japanese budget, according to the Prime Minister, would be reviewed with regard to social security and education, in order to create a framework that will support children’s development across all of society. I would like to kindly ask those of you from business and industry, too, for even greater assistance for these efforts. Local governments would also be asked to formulate plans to address child poverty, and provide assistance to those in need in partnership with local companies and NPOs.
Spelling out his vision, Abe said: “I want to make Japan a place where children can have goals and dreams for the future and take steps toward achieving these dreams, regardless of the environment they are in. I strongly feel that until we do so, Japan will not have a future. To achieve this vision, we will need to work together and combine our strengths. For this reason, today we are joined by representatives from all sectors of society. I am extremely encouraged by this commitment. Let us work together as one to make Japan a kinder, brighter, and stronger country that is full of vitality and where everyone has a chance.”
Compiled by Newsroom24x7 Desk based on the (Meeting of the Founders of the National Movement to Support Children’s Futures) published on the Official Website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet (http://japan.kantei.go.jp/97_abe/actions/201504/2article2.html).