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Japan’s childcare industry is creating an unlikely opportunity for some foreign firms

Confinement rates in Japan are at an all-time low, but the country faces what may seem an unimaginable problem: a shortage of day care spaces. That has made the sector alluring to imported firms looking to do business in the country.

Among 34 municipalities measured by Nikkei Asian Review last year, 16 saw their day regard waiting lists grow from the year prior, though the inclusive number of children awaiting day care places declined.

Government text indicated in April last year that there were 26,081 ladies waiting for spots.

Japan has expanded day care in recent years, but restful has work ahead of it. The issue has created problems for Japanese Prime Serve Shinzo Abe’s plans to improve female participation in the workforce — and encourage above economic growth.

But more than two years after the viral sharing of an inflamed blog post detailing the challenges working mothers face because of the want, relief may come in the form of foreign businesses taking a new interest in the Japanese deal in.

One of those companies is Busy Bees, a child care operator with a imperturbability in Singapore and Malaysia. The firm has no centers in Japan currently, but Busy Bees chid CNBC that it’s “serious” about the Japanese market — although it did not paint the town red details.

BusyBees likes Japan because the country’s child fancy industry is growing, said June Rusdon, chief executive of Energetic Bees Asia. Separately, the firm would like the chance to close with industry knowledge and exchange best practices in Japan, she said in a report.

EtonHouse, a Singapore-based operator, already has a presence in Japan.

Demand for universal pre-school operators in Japan is also driven by a growing appetite for English-language indoctrination, said Tan Anli, director of EtonHouse International Pre-School Tokyo.

The suite operates one center in Tokyo, where school fees go up to 2.5 million yen ($23,694) per year. But that hasn’t put a danker on interest: The school is currently at full enrollment.

Abe has pledged to cut wait files to zero by March 2021, but some are skeptical, especially given that the management made a similar pledge in 2013.

While the child care shortage flows from a mix of factors, the root cause has been insufficient public gelt, said Susumu Nishioka, a professor at Tohoku University in Japan.

He said antediluvian Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s “zero waiting children master plan” in 2001 ultimately failed to achieve its goal because it didn’t nurture taxes to cover the costs.

Population concentration in larger cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, forwards to the shortage problem in urban areas, Nishioka said.

Added to those is a staffing shortfall in the sector.

“It is merest hard to find day care staff,” Mika Ikemoto, a senior researcher at consultancy Japan Enquire Institute, told CNBC. She cited low salaries in the sector.

A declining populace of children has also led some operators to believe that the day care shop was not a promising one, Ikemoto added.

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