National

Survey finds women in Japan mostly rely on day-care centers to care for their children while working

JIJI

Day-care centers for children and other public facilities are the most important places for mothers in Japan have their children looked after when they are at work, replacing their parents, a survey of married women by a government-affiliated institute on Friday showed.

In the survey, conducted in July last year, 42.0 percent of respondents said they leave their children at nurseries and other public facilities when they are at work, up 8.2 percentage points from the previous survey five years earlier.

Mothers who ask their parents or parents-in-law to take care of their children accounted for 33.9 percent, down 8.3 points, according to the nationwide survey of 6,142 married women by the welfare ministry-affiliated National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

“Day-care centers for children may have become more accessible for mothers in terms of psychological and other aspects,” an official of the institute said.

Meanwhile, the proposed legal system to allow a married couple to have different surnames was supported by a majority of respondents for the first time, at 50.5 percent, up 9.0 points, after losing support in the last two surveys in what was taken as a return to conservative family values.

In Japan, a married couple, except for those in international marriages, is legally obliged to have the same surname, and in most cases women give up their maiden names.

Respondents were also positive about same-sex couples, a subject in the quinquennial survey for the first time, with 75.1 percent saying they should be given some legal guarantees and 69.5 percent supporting the idea of allowing same-sex marriage legally.

The survey also found that women tend to take charge of “invisible household chores,” or those that are not as recognizable as cooking and laundry, with 91.6 percent planning menus and 76.2 percent sorting out garbage.