SoraNews24’s very own P.K Sanjun gives us the low-down.

Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi recently made headlines all over world. Not for any kind of political scandal, but because he has decided to take paternity leave following the birth of his son.

And while it is perfectly legal for both men and women to take up to a year off of work for parental duties, men making use of their paternity leave in Japan is a very uncommon occurrence. In fact, in Koizumi’s field it is a first. He is the first Japanese cabinet minister ever to take paternity leave.

In fact, a recent study done by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in 2018 found that just over 6 percent of men were actually taking paternity leave. Furthermore, of those 6 percent, the men were on average taking less than five days off of work. But if it’s legal, why aren’t men in Japan using their paternity leave? Luckily for us, we have a real life father in our midst to give us the low-down – SoraNews24’s very own P.K Sanjun.

Yes, when he’s not eating his weight in croquettes, interviewing Hollywood legends or redesigning offices using coffee cans, P.K Sanjun is busy being a father to a three-year old girl.

And like the majority of men in Japan, he didn’t take paternity leave. 

It wasn’t like he didn’t know it existed, but for some reason it just didn’t feel like it was realistic to take paternity leave. Come to think of it, P.K hasn’t met a single man in the last twenty years who could say “I took paternity leave”. Perhaps because he’d never met anybody who’d ever done it before, it just didn’t feel like something that related to him. It was more like some sort of distant fantasy.

The SoraNews24 office

While some workplaces in Japan make you feel guilty for taking time off, the offices here at SoraNews24 don’t have that kind of pressure, so he probably could have taken the time off without causing inconvenience to others.

However, P.K. says raising kids is tough. Like, really tough. Of course, there are happy times as well, but balanced out with the bad times… well. Raising kids is tough. According to P.K, going to work is 100 times easier than raising a kid. As most parents will tell you, when you have a new-born child, you seldom get even one minute to yourself. At the very least, P.K surmises, at work you are granted some precious ‘me-time’. 

Oh P.K!” you might be thinking. “How heartless!”  But he says he’s just being practical. After all, he believes there are perfectly good kindergartens and nurseries in Japan so he thinks those who can find one, wouldn’t be unhappy making use of them. That’s what P.K and his wife did — once they could get into one — and they’re currently raising a happy and healthy child.

While P.K. didn’t take paternity leave himself, he thinks it’s a good thing that Koizumi is making headlines like this. Because of Koizumi, the number of men in Japan who take paternity leave will hopefully increase in future.

So in the end, P.K agrees with Shinjiro Koizumi’s decision to take paternity leave. Raising a child really is tough, so it’s good that men are able to help out and alleviate some of the stress from the moms. And if P.K has a second child, he might consider taking paternity leave himself in future.

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