Japan’s New Children and Families Agency began full-scale operations on Monday, with the goal of eliminating the vertically divided management of child policy that were formerly overseen by several government agencies.
In addition to the goal of creating a society that puts the interests of children first, this agency will be responsible for activities related to child care, child abuse prevention and support for children with disabilities from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Operations regarding child allowances, the fight against child poverty, and certified kindergarten-nursery hybrids, known as kodomoen, will be transferred from the Cabinet Office.
The Agency will also address a variety of unresolved issues, including support measures for families with children not attending daycare or kindergarten and preventing harassment online and in schools.
The new Administration, formed with about 400 people, is designed to serve as a watch-tower for many policies, such as supporting children’s education, reducing child poverty, preventing abuse of child use and combat falling birth rates.
At an inauguration ceremony held at his office in Tokyo on Monday, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said his government is aiming to create a child-centered society that considers what is best for them.
Cooperation with local authorities is also essential to combat low birth rates. Central government agencies often cooperate with other agencies at the provincial and city levels, while education and social welfare agencies do so with local education boards and education bureaus ‘Welfare’.
The most important thing is to listen to children’s voices and reflect them in policy implementation, he added.
The Agency, established as an external body of the Cabinet Office, is placed under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister.
The new agency will appoint an official from its secretariat to communicate in regular meetings with local authorities.