National / Social Issues

IMF blog urges Japanese women to keep working full-time and have children

Kyodo

The International Monetary Fund wants to see a shift in Japan’s labor policy that would encourage women to take on more full-time work and also have children, according to a blog on its website.

The blog noted that while Japanese men have “traditionally enjoyed lifetime employment, the same isn’t true for women,” while also noting that frequent demands for overtime have led to the phenomenon of karoshi (death from overwork).

It suggested that “limiting overtime hours would give men more time to share in housekeeping and child-rearing duties, while encouraging mothers to keep their jobs.”

The IMF blog said studies indicate that “couples have a better chance of having a second child if the man spends more time at home.”

The number of reproductive-age women in Japan will fall sharply after 2018 and Japan’s total population is expected to decline almost 4 million by 2025, according to the IMF blog.

“Deeper changes are needed in social norms that discourage professional women from having families,” said the IMF blog.

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