In late May, I attended a gathering of a Diet members' league calling for introduction of mandatory child care leave for male workers. To my surprise, TV broadcasters gave the event heavy coverage. The time has finally come in Japan when a topic like this attracts the media's attention.

With about 50 Diet members, including 11 former Cabinet ministers, the league will be a powerful lobby group. Former education minister Hirokazu Matsuno said businesses and society as a whole should raise awareness about the importance of men's participation in child-rearing, noting that his experience of raising his child — after he lost his Diet seat following an election defeat — was the most memorable period of his life.

During the meeting, entrepreneur Yoshie Komuro stated that at an event involving the leaders of 140 companies, the executives of 60 firms promised to declare that they will give childcare leave to all male employees.