City forces fathers to learn childcare

A Japanese city where no male municipal worker has ever taken a day of paternity leave is to force employees who become fathers to take time off and familiarise themselves with childcare.

The new administration in Ota city – on the outskirts of Tokyo – aims to break down traditional Japanese perceptions about parenting roles.

According to the Times, all male workers with babies will be required to stay at home for a total of 40 days during the child’s first year of life.

On their return to work, the men will have to tell their colleagues the lessons they have learned from childcare.

The plan has been devised amid rising desperation in Japan about the younger generation’s failure to produce more children. According to the latest figures, the birth rate stands at a 60-year low of 1.29 children per couple.

The enforced paternity leave hinges on the theory that by involving fathers more when the baby is young, women might be less daunted by the idea of having larger families.

Ota’s proposals differ from most of corporate Japan and the civil service as fathers will be paid their full salary.

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