One in 3 young Japanese women wants to get married and become a full-time homemaker, a government survey has shown, despite growing calls to raise female participation in the workforce.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry poll, which quizzed more than 3,000 women aged 15 to 39, found 34 percent of unmarried women did not want to work after settling down.
The poll found that only a slightly higher proportion of women actively opposed full-time homemakers, at 38 percent, while the rest had no firm opinion either way.
However, potential husbands on the whole were less keen on the idea, with only 1 in 5 saying they wanted a future wife to stay at home all day.
Many women drop out of the workforce after they have children, and social pressure to play the homemaker remains strong.
Experts at home and abroad, notably International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, have argued that women could rescue Japan’s chronically underperforming economy if more of them went to work.
The nation’s male-dominated, shrinking labor market is being hit by retiring baby boomers and a falling birthrate, which is putting extra pressure on public finances as the government tries to a tap a shrinking pool of workers to fund a growing mountain of pension payments.
As part of an overhaul aimed at getting the economy moving again, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to expand business opportunities for women.