Inaugural Ceremony Held for Japan’s Children and Families Agency

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, far left, and Masanobu Ogura, the state minister for measures for the declining birth rate, far right, stand with six students at the inauguration ceremony for the Children and Families Agency in Tokyo on Monday. Their signs show the agency’s name and the phrase “child-centric.”

The inauguration ceremony for the Children and Families Agency, the government’s headquarters for coordinating child-related policies, took place in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

“We will achieve a child-centric society where children can be healthy and happy and grow up soundly,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at the ceremony.

The agency was launched on Saturday as an extra-ministerial bureau of the Cabinet Office and started operations on Monday. It is located in the Kasumigaseki Building, where the ceremony was held with six elementary, junior high and high school students from around the country.

Masanobu Ogura, the state minister for measures for the declining birth rate, is in charge of the agency. During the ceremony, Ogura and the six students used ink and a brush to produce calligraphy of the characters for the agency’s Japanese name, “Kodomo Katei-cho,” and the phrase “child-centric.” Their writing will later be processed and used to make the sign for the agency.

The character “mo” from the agency’s name was written by a third-year high school student from Miyagi Prefecture who is 17.

“I hope the agency will put ‘child-centric’ into practice and not just leave it as a phrase,” the student said. “I want to see the agency create a society where children can trust adults, and make this country a place where children can feel safe in telling adults their future dreams.”

Child policies are diverse and wide-ranging, and many of the related issues are dealt with by more than one ministry or agency. The new agency is entrusted with the task of dissolving the government’s compartmentalized administrative system for these policies and acting as the command center. The agency will also be at the core of efforts to achieve the government’s “unprecedented measures” for improving the declining birth rate.