An opinion poll by the Cabinet Office says that public support for having women work is rising, giving momentum to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign to increase female participation in the workforce.
Of the respondents, 49.4 percent opposed the notion that husbands should work while their wives stay home and do housework, up 4.3 points from the previous survey in 2012.
Those in favor of keeping women at home came to 44.6 percent, down 7.0 points.
The survey was conducted between Aug. 28 and Sept. 14 through interviews on 5,000 adults across Japan. Valid responses came from 60.7 percent.
In the previous survey, those opposed got outnumbered for the first time in 15 years while supporters rose for the first time since the gender equality survey began in 1992. Cabinet Office officials hinted that the result may have been temporarily affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Supporters accounted for larger proportions among the older age brackets. The idea was supported by 53.6 percent of respondents 70 or older and 45.7 percent of those in their 60s.
Among women, supporters accounted for 43.2 percent and opposers 51.6 percent.
Male respondents were evenly split at 46.5 percent.
Of all supporters, the biggest chunk, or 59.4 percent, backed the reason that it is better for children that mothers stay home, with multiple choices allowed, followed by 37.3 percent who agreed that it is hard for women to work outside and take care of their children and aged family members at the same time.
Among opponents, 48.5 percent agreed that stereotypical gender roles should not be imposed, followed by 42.6 percent who found that it is better for individuals and society that wives work outside and make better use of their abilities.
A total of 44.8 percent believe that women had better continue to work after childbirth, almost double the tally in the first survey 22 years ago.
Asked what is necessary for women to continue working in the same workplace after childbirth, 71.6 percent called for a better working environment, such as by building more child care centers.