A group including parents whose children were refused entry into certified nursery schools and other child care facilities launched a protest in front of the National Diet Building in Tokyo over the weekend, angered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's response to a blog venting rage over the lack of facilities.
The blog entry, apparently written in mid-February by a woman who had not been able to get her child into a nursery, was titled "Hoikuen ochita Nihon shine!!!" (My child wasn't accepted for nursery school. Die, Japan!!!")
When questioned about the entry, Abe stated, "Since it's anonymous, there's no way to tell if it's genuine or not." Angered by this response, people at the protest on March 5 held up signs reading, "It was me whose child wasn't accepted for nursery school."
The protesters, some carrying young children, gathered in front of the Diet building at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tomoko Nakazawa, 26, a single mother from the Tokyo suburban city of Chofu who brought along her 10-month-old daughter, said she had applied to put her daughter in a certified nursery school after her mother, who had been looking after her daughter, fell ill. However, her application was turned down.
"For these past two months, I've had no income and I don't know what to do. I really empathized this with the blog. I hope something will change -- albeit a small change -- by us coming here," she said.
The anonymous blog entry expressed anger over not being able to return to work, stating in rough language, "This means I have to quit my job. Get your act together, Japan." The entry also targeted Abe's slogan of a "society in which all 100 million people can be active," lamenting, "I can't be active, can I?"
The entry spread over the Internet, attracting sympathy, but during a meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Feb. 29, Abe stated that there was no way to confirm the information, and one ruling party lawmaker was heard jeering, "Who wrote it?"
In response, other people whose children had been refused entry to child care facilities started saying, "It was me." A website collecting signatures in support of introducing a better child care system had collected at least 20,000 signatures as of 6 p.m. on March 5.
Below is the gist of the blog that appeared online, in translation:
My child wasn't accepted at nursery school. Die, Japan!!!
What the heck is this, Japan?
Isn't this a society in which all 100 million people can be active?
Yesterday my child failed miserably to get into nursery school.
What am I supposed to do now? I can't be active, can I?
I've given birth and I'm saying I'll raise my child and go into society and work and pay taxes. So what are you so dissatisfied about, Japan?
And what's all that blabber about falling birthrates?
When you say, you can have children but it's going to be practically impossible to put them into nursery schools as you want, no one's going to have children.
It seems that it's OK to have an affair and to accept bribes, so increase the number of nursery schools.
You're wasting tens of billions of yen on the Olympics.
I don't give a damn about the emblems -- set up nursery schools.
If you've got money to pay famous designers, then create nursery schools.
What am I supposed to do now? This means I have to quit my job.
Quit playing around, Japan.
If you can't increase the number of nursery schools, then increase the amount of child allowances to 200,000 yen.
You're saying you can't increase the number of nursery schools and can only pay a few thousand yen in child allowances, but you still want to tackle the declining birth rate. If there were ever such self-serving rubbish!
If the country can't let women give birth to children, what's it going to do?
There's an abundance of people who would have children if they had money, so either give them money or make the costs of raising children free.
If you halved the Diet members having affairs, taking bribes and making fans, you could find the resources.
Seriously, get your act together, Japan.