A record 61 percent of the public believe women should be able to continue working “even after giving birth,” according to a recent government survey.
The rate was up 6.8 percentage points from the previous survey in 2016, and the highest since the government launched the survey in 1992, the Cabinet Office said.
“It was principally driven by increasing employment rates among women and growing awareness regarding female empowerment,” a Cabinet Office official said.
The rate was only 23.4 percent in the 1992 survey.
Women in Japan have long had fewer opportunities than men to pursue careers because of expectations that they will become homemakers or focus on raising children.
By gender, 63.8 percent of women and 58.4 percent of men said in the latest survey conducted last September that women should be able to continue their careers after having children.
A total of 20.3 percent of the total respondents said women should quit their job when they have children, but become employed once again when the child is older.
Another 6.5 percent said women should continue to work only until they give birth, while 4.8 percent believe they should work until they get married.
Those that answered “women should not be employed” made up 3.9 percent.
Furthermore, 59.8 percent of the respondents opposed or somewhat opposed the view that husbands should work and wives should stay at home and look after the household.
Those that agreed or somewhat agreed made up 35.0 percent.
A total 56.6 percent said they believed in equally dividing child-rearing with their spouse, according to the survey.
The Cabinet Office surveyed a total of 5,000 people age 18 and older, of whom 52.9 percent responded.
In a separate survey released by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry in November, 81.4 percent of women said they continue to work after marriage, of whom 57.6 percent were employed full time.