Ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers formed a group Wednesday to promote, including through the revision of laws, the creation of work environments where men can more easily take parenting leave.
The lawmakers will aim to make paternity leave mandatory in Japan and will compile an interim report on related measures by the end of this month, said former education minister Hirokazu Matsuno, who chairs the group.
The group plans to hold discussions with a view to revising the child care and family care leave law.
“Taking paternity leave is the best way to get trained as ikumen,” or men actively engaged in child-rearing, said Upper House member Rui Matsukawa of the LDP, who proposed the group’s creation.
“Many men cannot take paternity leave even though they want to and we hope to change the situation,” she added.
According to a survey detailed in a report released by the labor ministry Tuesday, the proportion of men employed at companies in Japan who took paternity leave in fiscal 2018 stood at 6.16 percent — up 1.02 percentage points from the previous year, but far short of the Japanese government target of 13 percent by 2020.
“The increase is still not enough,” said Yoshiaki Wada, an LDP lawmaker in the House of Representatives, the lower of the two chambers.
The group will discuss measures such as creating a system in which companies offer child care leave proactively, including to employees who do not apply for it.
Also on the agenda will be measures to support small companies facing labor shortages and penalties for so-called paternity harassment, or the harassment of men who take parenting leave, including workplace discrimination.