Japanese fathers spend an average of 3.1 hours per weekday with their children, placing second from the bottom in a six-country international comparison, according to a report by the National Women’s Education Center.
South Korean fathers spend the least time with their children out of the six countries polled, at only 2.8 hours per weekday.
Japanese fathers average the longest working hours, at 48.9 hours a week, followed by South Koreans at 48.8 hours. Swedish fathers, by contrast, put in an average of only 37.7 hours per week.
The survey, conducted from March to June 2005, received responses from about 1,000 households each in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, France and Sweden.
The survey was conducted by research institutes in each country on behalf of the center, which is affiliated with the education ministry.
The survey shows that fathers in Thailand spend an average of 5.9 hours per weekday with their children, followed by 4.6 hours each for fathers in the U.S. and Sweden, and 3.8 hours for those in France.
A similar survey in 1994 showed fathers in Japan spent 3.3 hours with their children on weekdays, compared with 3.6 hours in South Korea, 4.6 hours in Sweden, 4.9 hours in the U.S. and 6.0 hours in Thailand. No data were available for France as the 1994 survey covered Britain instead.
In this year’s survey, 41.3 percent of Japanese fathers said they worry about spending so little time with their children, a sharp increase from the 27.6 percent who expressed such concerns in the 1994 survey.
The share of fathers who were concerned about having little time with their children was 49 percent in South Korea, 44.7 percent in Sweden, 37.2 percent in the U.S., 36.9 percent in France and 17.8 percent in Thailand.
Japanese mothers spend 7.6 hours per weekday with their kids on average, the longest among the six, followed by South Korea, Thailand and the U.S. each with 7.1 hours, Sweden with 5.8 hours and France with 5.7 hours.
Asked about their biggest child-rearing concerns, safety topped the list, at 46.9 percent, for parents in Japan, 42.6 percent for France, 50.7 percent for the United States and 72.6 percent for Thailand.
For South Korean parents, the cost of education is the biggest worry, with 52.6 percent expressing concern.
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