Role model for working fathers? Japan minister to take paternity leave
Japan's parental leave policies are among the world's most generous, providing men and women with partially paid leave of up to a year, or even longer. But just 6 percent of eligible fathers take child care leave in the country.
Japan has been trying to encourage more men to take paternity leave as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s "Womenomics" programme of bolstering women's employment. But change has been slow.
Now, Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi is apparently taking time off and will soon announce that he is taking paternity leave. A government official said on Wednesday that the minister aims to become a role model for the country's working fathers.
The 38-year-old son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plans to introduce telework and short working hours so he can take about two weeks off during the first three months after his child is born, the Japan Times reported citing sources close to the matter.
Some lawmakers initially criticized Koizumi's interest in taking parental leave, saying he should prioritise his duty to the public as a cabinet minister.
An Environment Ministry spokesman said that Koizumi is expected to make an announcement shortly.
Japan's parental leave policies are among the world's most generous, providing men and women with partially paid leave of up to a year, or longer if there is no public child care. Policies are even more accommodating for government workers.
But government data shows the rate of men taking child care leave in Japan stood at 6.16 percent in fiscal 2018, far less than the 82.2 percent for women. The government hopes to raise the rate among men to 13 percent in the public and private sectors this year.
Koizumi is married to Christel Takigawa -- a French-Japanese television personality.