|6||gI Outline of Japanese School Systemh||Previous||Next||JAPANESE|
| While there is a movement towards unification of kindergartens and day care centers, they remain institutionally separate and distinct because of differences in aims and age spread. For example, kindergartens remain in charge of 3 to 5 year-olds while day care centers handle 0 to 5 year-olds.
However as birth rates are on the decline, the unification of the two is sought on the grounds that local communities need to raise their finance efficiency. MEXT has admitted that kindergartens could take care of children until the evening, because regionally there is an inadequate availability of day care centers in relation to demand, with long waiting lists. Therefore, there is a need and logic to dissolve the institutional separation of kindergartens and day care centers.