05/31/2018, 09.23
JAPAN
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More and more men seek paternity leave, but the goal is still far off

For the first time the percentage exceeds 5%. The government aims at 13% by 2020. Promote female labor to counter the workforce crisis. Statements by a member of the Shinzo Abe party sparks polemics.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - For the first time ever the number of first time fathers in Japan asking for parental leave has exceeded 5%, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry for Labor.

The figure covers the period up to last October and involved 6,160 companies with five or more employees. According to the survey, the number of men applying for leave rose 1.98% to 5.14%. However, the government's target of reaching 13% by 2020 seems far off. " Although promotion measures had produced some results, the rate remained low,” a ministry official said.

The results of the survey come just days after a controversy erupted over statements made by a member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party. On 26 May, Koichi Hagiuda argued that caring for children under three years should be the sole responsibility of mothers, because they are the parent of choice for all children. His statements have aroused the indignation of many activists, who have accused him of indulging in Japanese culture that forces men to work long hours and not to raise their children. Tetsuya Ando, ​​founder of the organization Fathering Japan and father of three children, defines his words as "unacceptable" and comments: “That kind of remark puts pressure on working mothers to stay at home while removing fathers’ rights to rear children.”

In Japan, the workforce is continuously decreasing due to the now chronic demographic crisis. For this reason, the government pushes for the inclusion of women in the labor market - a policy called "womenomics" - and turns its gaze to the outside to find new manpower. Two days ago, Tokyo announced that it will allow the entry of 500,000 foreign workers by 2025.

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