TOKYO: Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, who is expecting a child with his wife, said Wednesday that he will take paternity leave for some two weeks in total over three months.
Koizumi plans to secure time for child-rearing by shortening work hours and teleworking from home using online conference and other systems.
His wife, Christel Takigawa, a freelance television presenter, is set to give birth to their first child shortly.
"The number of government workers taking childcare leave would not increase unless the government changes not only employment systems but also the workplace atmosphere," Koizumi said in a meeting to discuss work style reform held at the Environment Ministry.
"I hope my decision would encourage other people to take child-rearing leave without hesitation," he said.
Japan has no rules for reduced work hours or leave of absence for cabinet ministers.
Koizumi said he plans to engage in child-rearing by utilizing the time between parliamentary discussion sessions, hoping to prevent his paternity leave from affecting official duties and crisis management at his ministry.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference Wednesday that he expects Koizumi's paternity leave will have positive effects on men's participation in child-rearing in both the public and private sectors.