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Forty-seven percent of Japanese back the traditional roles of men as breadwinners and women as housewives, down 11 percentage points from five years ago, the Cabinet Office said in a survey on gender equality.

The latest survey, conducted between June and July, shows an equal amount — 47 percent — do not support adherence to the traditional roles.

According to the survey of opinions on married life, 55.6 percent said husbands have the power in the household, down 6.1 points, while 16.5 percent said wives have the power, up 5.3 points.

The survey covered 5,000 adult men and women, of which 71.2 percent responded.

However, the office said only a slight increase was seen in husbands taking on household chores, as only 3.9 percent of the husbands take charge of cleaning but 82.4 percent of the wives do so.

More than 80 percent of the respondents said wives are in charge of doing the laundry, cooking and clearing the table after meals.

Of the respondents, 15.8 percent said husbands usually manage the household finances, up 6.1 points from a survey 10 years ago, while 66.9 percent said wives are in charge, down 3.6 points, the survey found.

But 44.5 percent said wives have the power to make final decisions over savings and investments, while only 27.3 percent said husbands have such a right.

The number of people who believe marriage or motherhood should not force women to abandon their careers is increasing, with 37.6 percent supporting the idea, up 4.5 points from the previous survey, while 36.6 percent said women should quit working when they marry or become mothers, and should try to find work again only after their children have grown up.

The office said that although Japanese society has gradually improved in terms of gender equality, men still dominate in many spheres.

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