Majority negative about lawmakers’ paternity leave in Japan: poll


An opinion poll showed Friday that as much as 53.2 percent of respondents do not support male lawmakers taking child care leave, possibly affected by a scandal involving a former Japanese ruling party lawmaker who had announced a plan to take such leave.

Meanwhile, 39.4 percent said they support paternity leave by lawmakers.

Kensuke Miyazaki, 35, gave up his seat on the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, and left the Liberal Democratic Party earlier this month, admitting that he had an extramarital affair during his wife’s pregnancy.

Previously, Miyazaki had drawn public attention for his bid to take time off to care for his child with his wife, Megumi Kaneko, 37, also an LDP Lower House member.

No Japanese lawmaker is believed to have ever taken paternity leave.

Also in the Jiji Press survey, 57.9 percent said that the removal of a statue of a girl symbolizing the “comfort women,” set up in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, should be a precondition for the Japanese government’s planned contribution of ¥1 billion to a South Korean fund to support such women, who were forced into prostitution for Japanese troops before and during World War II.

Only 23.8 percent said that the funding should be made even if the statue is not removed.

On Dec. 28 last year, Japan and South Korea reached an agreement to “finally and irreversibly” resolve the comfort women issue. Tokyo’s contribution of ¥1 billion to the fund is based on the agreement.

The opinion poll was conducted through individual interviews on 2,000 adults across Japan for the four days through Sunday. Of them, 62.9 percent gave valid responses.