A government study’s correlation between a husband’s participation in housework and his family’s having a second child struck me as related to Japan’s population decline.

The education system is partly to blame for creating the idea that time off from work for the family is a negative since teachers are required to work so much — as I have seen as a regular teacher at a private high school in Tokyo.

High school teachers are required to work Monday through Saturday. Since most teachers coach a school club, and club games are on Sundays, not only do teachers not get time off for weeks but the students see this as normal adult behavior.

What’s interesting is that most Japanese teachers really love kids and want to have children of their own. But good teachers have left the profession so they can have more time with their families. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed this.

Sports’ events really should be held on Saturday, to let teachers rest on Sunday (and start families) at least. At present, when a teacher does take a Sunday off, it’s often called “family service.” This is said in a negative way to colleagues to mean that one is sorry to have to be absent from school.

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