A minister has children and announces that he will take paternity leave for two weeks. In Austria and many other western countries, this would be a report under. But in Japan, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi caused a sensation with his announcement after the birth of his son.
"I am happy and relieved as a father," Koizumi said on Friday after the birth of his son. The newborn and his wife are doing well. In the world's third largest economy, famous for its extremely long working hours, it is extremely rare for men to take parental leave: According to official figures, only 6.16 percent of working men exercised their statutory right to paternity leave in the 2018 fiscal year (March 31) ,
Bullying for paternity leave
It happens again and again that Japanese are bullied by company colleagues when they want to take paternity leave. Even Environment Minister Koizumi took a while to think about how best to do it. Because there are no rules for paternity leave for members of parliament or the government. In the end, he decided to take a total of two weeks in the first three months after the son was born. He wants to work fewer hours for this, and work from home on other days. However, the minister wants to attend cabinet meetings.
Whole regions are dying out
With all of this, the young political star has the role of a pioneer in a country that ages faster than any other industrialized country in the world due to low birth rates and little immigration. Entire regions are dying out in Japan. "We have to get people going to take parental leave," said Health Minister Katsunobu Kato, welcoming his colleague Koizumi's pioneering role. Other of his colleagues associate it with the hope that Koizumi's behavior will become a school and that other fathers in Japan will follow suit.