- Japan's environmental minister, Shinjiro Koizumi, said he would take two weeks off work to be with his child
- The minister's interest to go on leave has sparked debates in the country as only a few men are known to stop working for some time when they have a child
- Koizumi said he would conduct necessary work activities through e-mails and video conferencing during his absence from office
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Japan's environmental minister, Shinjiro Koizumi, is planning to take two weeks of paternity leave, a decision that has been rocking the country’s headlines.
The minister said he wants to take leave so he could be in his child’s life from the moment the baby was born, BBC News reports.
This will be the first time a cabinet minister in the country would be taking that kind of leave.
Though both men and women can take up to a year off work when their child is born, only 6% of men did so in 2018 when compared to 82% of women.
"I intend to take a total of two weeks of paternity leave in the three months after childbirth, during which the mother bears the heaviest burden, on the condition that I prioritise my official duties and thorough crisis management, as I have done," the minister said.
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On how he plans to manage his work, he said he would do send emails , hold video calls and ask his deputies to represent him when it is really necessary.
Koizumi, however, said he would not be absent from “important public activities” like attending parliamentary sessions.
The minister complained about how Japanese society is very rigid and the reactions since he said he would contemplate taking paternity leave.
"Japan is rigid and outdated because society is caught up with fussing over pros and cons simply because I said I would consider it,” he said.
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Meanwhile, a mother of 11, named Zeo, said that she and her husband, Ben Sullivan, heavily rely on a military-style routine to put their kids under control.
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