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Demand for kindergartens to fall by half, day care use to grow slightly by 2040

Demand for kindergartens in Japan will fall to about half the current level by 2040, while day care centers will see only a slight increase, a study has found.

The results of the study by the Japan Research Institute, Ltd., represent an overall decrease in the need for such facilities.

Researchers based their study on population predictions made in 2012 by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research and prefectural data on the demand for day care facilities. They projected that in 2020, day care centers will need to accommodate 2.54 million children, up from 2.33 million in 2015. The figure will grow slightly thereafter, to reach 2.63 million by 2040 -- up 13 percent from the 2015 figure, they said.

In contrast, the number of children that kindergartens will need to accommodate is expected to fall from 1.51 million in 2015 to 640,000 in 2040 -- a drop of more than half.

Overall, the data represents a decline of about 15 percent from 3.85 million to 3.27 million children.

Even when applying a higher-than-expected birthrate, researchers found that the demand for kindergartens would stand at only around 740,000 children in 2040, about half of the figure for 2015. Under such a scenario, day care centers would need to accommodate about 3.01 million children -- about 30 percent more than in 2015.

Mika Ikemoto, a primary researcher at the institute who worked on analyzing the results, commented, "Kindergarten (demand) is on a downward trend, and from now on we will need an environment enabling the provision of high quality service without distinction between day care centers and kindergartens."

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