Paternity leave row: Japanese minister welcomes baby boy, looks forward to balancing public duties with child care

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jan 17, 2020, 07.25 PM(IST)

Japan's Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi attends a news conference at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan September 11, 2019. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The minister says he wants to set an example and become a role-model for Japan's working fathers. 

Japanese environment minister Shinjiro Koizumi created ripples in the country after his announcement of taking a paternity leave once he becomes a father. The minister now seeks to avail two weeks of leave, spread over three months, after the birth of his baby boy on Friday.

Koizumi has been heavily criticised for his paternity leave move with lawmakers suggesting him to prioritise his duties towards the state. 

The minister, son of charismatic former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, says he wants to set an example and become a role-model for Japan's working fathers. 

Koizumi says he will try his best to juggle his public duties and take out time for his child as well. 

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"I'll keep a priority on policy and on managing anything unexpected that comes up, while also carving out time for child care," he said as reported by news agency Reuters.

In a bid to strengthen women's employment in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also all up for Japanese fathers to take paternity leave. 

Interestingly, countries like China, India and the United States are among over 90 such countries with no national policy for fathers to take paid leave for their newborns.

As per a  2018 UNICEF report, nearly two-thirds of the world's children under 12 months come from countries where fathers are not entitled to paid paternity leave. 

Russia, Japan, UK, Australia are some of the countries wherein fathers get to avail paid paternity leave for 14 weeks or more. 

(With inputs from Reuters)