A man's claim that his wife, who worked at a day care center in Aichi Prefecture, was forced to apologize to her employer for getting pregnant ahead of senior coworkers, has highlighted how the labor crunch in female-dominated sectors can affect operators.

The complaint went viral online after a major newspaper published the man's letter in February. In the letter, the 28-year-old man said he accompanied his wife to the private nursery school in Aichi where she worked to apologize for getting pregnant ahead of her older coworkers. The man, from Nagoya, claimed the center's head had set rules for when female workers were allowed to get married or pregnant. The man was also quoted as saying that his wife was exposed to repeated scolding "for arrogantly breaking the institution's rules."

Experts and people familiar with the situation in the child care industry say such practices showcase the difficulties faced by service providers and the struggle to attract workers amid tough working conditions and low pay.