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A private survey showed Thursday that 30.5% of parents with children up to 6 years old in Japan want more babies, up from 21.3% a year before and the highest since the survey began in 2018.

The result of the survey by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. seems to reflect reduced economic burdens on parents thanks to the government’s program to make preschool education and care services free of charge, the company said.

Also, people are apparently finding it easier to balance child-rearing with work because teleworking has become more common amid the COVID-19 crisis, it said.

The average monthly spending on children fell to a record low of ¥36,247, down from ¥40,687 a year before.

The survey also showed that women want their husbands to take 94 days of paternity leave on average, while men actually took an average of only seven days off.

“Men need to get involved in child-rearing more actively by taking paternity leave for the length considered to be ideal by their wives,” the insurance firm said.

The survey was conducted online from June 12 to June 15 on a total of 1,100 married men and women with at least one child under age 6.

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