As one of the country's most high-profile politicians breaks new ground for a Cabinet minister by taking paternity leave, some lawmakers and businesses are aiming to change the way corporate Japan views time off for new dads.

Although Japan leads the world in paid-leave provisions for fathers, according to U.N. Children's Fund data, only 6.16 percent took child care leave in fiscal 2018. Among those who did, 36.3 percent were absent for fewer than five days and 35.1 percent between five and 13 days, according to government data.

Campaigners blame reluctance to take time off on Japan's male-centered corporate culture, which traditionally favors those who put work before family. But promoting paternity leave, they say, could be a step to help offset the declining number of births in the nation and sustain the economy by encouraging more women to work.