Japan’s Diet starts debate on launching agency for children

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Diet on Tuesday started deliberations on a bill to set up a new government agency that would centralize administrative functions related to children’s issues.

The government is keen to have the bill enacted by the end of the ongoing session of the Diet so it can launch the agency next April.

On the day, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attended a plenary session of the House of Representatives and explained the purpose of the bill.

“With strong central command functions, [the agency] will promote policies with perspectives of children and those raising children comprehensively and holistically, in order to secure necessary support and education,” Kishida said.

He also said that the agency will lead efforts to consider introducing a scheme in which candidates for work involving children are screened for records of sex crimes.

The proposed agency would consolidate children-related operations spanning several government agencies, eliminate bureaucratic walls and provide seamless support related to children.

The agency will be in charge of the issues of child care, nursing, child-rearing support, tackling child abuse and bullying.

The agency would be an affiliate of the Cabinet Office with over 300 members. A new ministerial post for the agency, who will have power to give advice to other government agencies, will be created.

Also, the agency will have a commissioner as its administrative head.