• Kyodo

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A record 16.4% of eligible male central government workers took child care leave in Japan in fiscal 2019, the minister in charge of civil service reform said Tuesday.

The proportion increased by 4 percentage points compared to the previous fiscal year through March 2019, and met the government’s target of 13% by 2020, Taro Kono said at a news conference.

Taro Kono, minister in charge of civil service reform, says Japan has to make child care leave for men more common. | KYODO
Taro Kono, minister in charge of civil service reform, says Japan has to make child care leave for men more common. | KYODO

“We have to make child care leave for men common in our society,” Kono said. He suggested the need to continue encouraging civil servants to take days off to build a society that is more conducive to paternity leave.

The government has been encouraging men in both the private and public sectors to take child care leave, but the practice is not widespread in Japan, a country with a declining birth rate.

The health ministry reported the highest ratio among eligible male staff at 59.2%. The Finance Ministry also had a high rate at 43.6%. The ministries that fell below the target of 13% included the Defense Ministry and the Imperial Household Agency, both with just over 5%. Comparable figures began being compiled in fiscal 2004.

Among those taking such leave, 68.4% were away for a month or less, followed by 15.5% who took leave for longer than a month but not more than three months.

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