More young fathers in Japan are prioritising family over work

As family dynamics in Japan shift, more male employees are seeking to reduce their work hours to be involved in housework and childcare.
By: | June 20, 2023

If given a choice, young employees in Japan who are fathers would choose to spend less time at work and more time with their families.

According to a government survey of 20,000 working people conducted last December, 34.1% of men and 23.2% of women want to reduce their working hours, with over 40% of both genders desiring more quality time to spend with their families.

For male employees aged between 20 to 39, who work a minimum of 46 hours of monthly overtime, there are several reasons that hinder them from reducing their work hours. Heavy workloads are cited by 47.5% of respondents, while 38.6% pointed out labour shortages. Additionally, 32.7% said there is a tendency for employers to positively evaluate individuals who work overtime, and 30.5% expressed difficulties in gaining understanding from colleagues or superiors.

“In many cases, men are working long hours not because they want to,” said Japan’s Cabinet Office, which is compiling a white paper based on key findings from the survey.

READ MORE: Male employees in Japan encouraged to prioritise family over work

To facilitate individuals in achieving their desired work-life balance, the white paper called for measures that rectify long working hours, encourage male employees to take parental leave, and create a supportive environment that alleviates concerns about leaving children in daycare facilities, reported The Japan Times.

Should these come to fruition, 30% of fathers in their 20s and 30s have indicated an interest to be more involved in housework and childcare. Specifically, 27.7% of male respondents aged 20 to 39 with children desire greater participation in domestic responsibilities, while 14.1% aim to reduce their roles in these areas.