Kishida Calls for Paternity Leave to Counter Declining Birth Rate

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at Waseda University on Sunday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his resolve to promote paternity leave as women disproportionately carry the load of raising children in Japan, during a speech on Sunday at Waseda University, his alma mater.

“It’s crucial to change societal attitudes and structures, or the desired results won’t be achieved,” Kishida said about countering the chronically low birth rate.

As a specific measure, he said subsidies would be provided to support small and midsize businesses to compensate those who cover the tasks of employees on parental leave.

Kishida also spoke about issues surrounding Japan-China relations.

“We will stand firm on what needs to be asserted and demand responsible action, but also cooperate on common issues such as climate change,” he said. “Visits to China will be considered within this context.”

Kishida reminisced about his student years as well.

“I repeatedly failed entrance exams and continually got stuck in the wayside grass and took many detours,” Kishida said. “Back then, I couldn’t have imagined giving a speech at my alma mater as prime minister. I’d say ‘never,’” he professed. “Don’t hesitate. Dive in with hope and curiosity.”