• Politics & Government

Japan to Make Nursery School Procedures Fully Online

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Japan’s Children and Families Agency

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japan’s Children and Families Agency plans to enable parents looking for nursery schools for their children to complete related procedures online.

The agency plans to utilize a private-sector app so that bookings to visit schools, admission applications and other procedures can be done via a smartphone. The measure is aimed at easing burdens on parents.

The agency also plans to automate the process by which local governments assign scores to each application based on the family situations and allocate children to nursery schools, speeding up the process of determining admissions.

The system will be set up by around October 2025 so that it can be introduced by municipalities nationwide that wish to offer it. The system will be available for children entering nursery school in April 2026 at the earliest.

While some local governments have introduced online procedures on their own, many others rely on telephone and paper procedures, and application formats differ by area.

The agency hopes to create a unified format for nursery school procedures to complete the digitalization quickly across the country.

The agency envisions a database of information on certified nursery schools and “kodomoen” nursery-kindergarten hybrids. It will be linked with the private-sector app so that parents can search for facilities, book visits, submit applications and view application results.

Information entered on the app will be sent to local governments through the Mynaportal portal site for My Number identification card holders.

The agency’s initiative is also seen making work at local governments more efficient.

At many local governments, information on admission applications is entered on computers manually. The app-based system removes the need for manual entry.

Currently, some urban regions consider factors such as whether children are raised by single parents, whether parents work full time and whether they give nursing care to a family member, when scoring applications in order to allocate children to facilities. The agency will urge the private sector to develop a unified system that automates score calculations.

“Online nursery school procedure services are necessary nationwide to improve convenience for residents,” an agency official said. “In the future, we hope to make it possible to make reservations for after-hours child care at kindergartens using the same app.”