Japan aims to ensure that all male central government employees can take paternity leave of at least one month, said Ryota Takeda, minister in charge of public servant system reform, on Friday.

The Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs will consider concrete measures to encourage male national public servants to take long paternity leave, in order to put them into effect in fiscal 2020.

The central government hopes that its move will help spread the practice of taking long paternity leave among workers at local governments and private companies.

Also on Friday, the government said that 12.4 percent of eligible male national public servants took paternity leave in fiscal 2018, including Self-Defense Forces personnel and other special-service employees.

The proportion rose 2.4 percentage points from the previous year to a record high. But it is still short of the government’s target of 13 percent.

In addition, 68.7 percent of paternity leave system users took leave of less than one month. National public servants are allowed to take paternity or maternity leave until their child reaches three years old.

The share of male national public servants taking spousal childbirth leave, by which up to two days off are granted, stood at 84.6 percent. As many as 74.5 percent took special leave for male employees to participate in child care, which allows up to five days off.

“It is important, also for the sake of female empowerment, to realize an environment that will make child-rearing easier through men’s increased participation in child-rearing and housework,” Takeda told a news conference.

He expressed a wish to take “drastic” steps, taking into account measures adopted in the private sector.

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