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[Japan] Parental Evaluation of Institutionalized Childcare: Survey Results from Japan

This article presents the first results of a non-representative survey, conducted in 2008 among 350 parents with at least one child enrolled in a daycare facility throughout Japan. Questions geared to understand parental utilization of, opinions on, and satisfaction with institutional childcare, in particular daycare centers. Important findings are the persistence of traditional care giving patterns, with the role of the mother remaining to be highly dominant, even in dual-earner families. This is to a large degree linked to gendered employment patterns and workplace constraints. However the limited use and role of alternative caregivers is also a noteworthy element. On the other hand, survey results show the significance of grandparental childcare ? not as substitute for daycare but in addition to the use of institutional childcare. The comparatively understudied role of grandparental care can be seen in their helping with daycare runs in the evening, in the case a child is sick and cannot attend daycare, and as full-time caregivers during the summer-vacation at elementary school. From a social policy perspective, this points to a continuing need for the provision of after-hours daycare and institutionalized childcare for sick children, as these seem to be the most significant deficiencies in the existing early child care and education system for dual-earner parents.

Institutionalized childcare, work-life balance, daycare, dual-earner families, grandparents, babysitter, family policies

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Barbara G. Holthus
Senior research fellow at the German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo (DIJ) since 2007. Holds a Ph.D. in Japanese Studies from the University of Trier, Germany and is finishing a second Ph.D., in Sociology, at the University of Hawaii at M?noa. She has taught at universities in Germany, the US, and in Japan. Her research focuses on the topics of childcare and work-life-balance, as well as marital happiness in Japan. Her interests include marriage and the family, media, social and demographic change, childcare, and social stratification.
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