• Kyodo

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About 70 percent of husbands in Japan felt more positive about child-rearing during the coronavirus stay-at-home period requested by the government but 40 percent of wives felt stressed at having to be with their kids and husbands all the time, a private survey shows.

Of the husbands, 20.9 percent said they became more proactive in looking after their children and 18.5 percent said they deepened their bonds with them, according to the poll by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co.

Of the wives, 22 percent said they grew irritated more often with the kids and 11.3 percent said they got frustrated with the way their husbands looked after them, it said.

But about half of the wives noted positive results from the pandemic step, with 16.2 percent citing deeper bonds with their children and 12 percent becoming more attentive to what they tell them.

The major insurer conducted the online survey from June 12 to 15 and got replies from 1,100 married men and women — 550 each — who have children up to 6 years old.

“Many wives may have felt stressed as the pace of their child-rearing was disrupted by their children and husbands spending longer hours at home because of nursery school closures and teleworking,” Meiji Yasuda said in a report.

According to the survey, 33.5 percent of the respondents said they were telecommuting during the state of emergency declared for the virus through late May.

Of these telecommuters, 88.8 percent would like to continue working from home, with 33.8 percent citing the convenience of being able to look after their children while working and 18.1 percent saying they want to spend more time with their kids.

However, one in four housewives whose husbands telecommute said they do not want them to continue the practice, the survey says. Of them, 36.4 percent cited a potentially negative impact on the children, saying the presence of their husbands all day could spur family discord.

Some 27.3 percent referred to their husbands’ inability to balance work with child-rearing.

On April 7, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures to curb the spread of the virus. The emergency was subsequently expanded to the rest of the nation until May 25.

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