17 January 2020
Japan's environment minister, Shinjiro Koizumi announced the birth of his son on Friday and will become the first cabinet minister to take paternity leave. The announcement of the minister's paternity leave was widely reported both domestically and internationally. Koizumi is the son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and is considered a future prime ministerial hopeful. Koizumi said he hopes to create a society where someone taking paternity leave won't be news but common place.
With Japan facing an aging population and a dwindling birthrate, the government recently began promoting paternity leave. Only 6% of eligible working fathers took paternity leave in 2018, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, short of the government's modest 13% target for 2020. Japan has relatively generous parental leave policies, allowing men and women partially paid leave of up to 12 months.
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