Why do many fathers hesitate to take child-care leave in Japan?

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Pick of the week from Japan, 18 – 22 September

21 Sep. Imagination of negative perception of others against child-care leave blocks men from taking it

“I am positive to men’s child-care leave but others must not be” — it was found that such perception is a major factor that make men refrain from taking the child-care leave. A group of researchers of University of Kyusyu published the result in an electronic version of “Frontiers in Psychology”, an international scientific journal.

Professor Hiroyuki Yamaguchi and a doctral student, Takeshi Miyajima, who undertook the research concluded, “Men have a strong perception that other men have negavive views on child-care leave. Such an incorrect perception prohibits men from taking the leave”.

“What others think of me is more important than what I think” — such a way of thinking appears to govern the Japanese to decide his/her action. This especially is the case when they take action where little preceding cases are found, such as men’s child-care leave.

It was a nice culture shock for me to learn that I had to take my own decision independent from what others were doing, when I started living in Canada as a graduate student. Before that, I was taught by the society that my priority should be what a group I belonged to wished  me to do, not my own decision. The article cited above signals that such culture still strongly prevails in the country.

Who will benefit from the child-care leave if those men who need it do not take it? For how long will men carry on working till late in the evening everyday, instead of taking time to perform fathers’ tasks with children at home?

Fathers may just be scared by their own perception of men’s child-care leave, not others’.

  • The news items referred here are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The cited titles or articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

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Robots supporting the elders being tested

 

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Pick of the week from Japan, 11 – 15 September

11 Sep. Field experiment of robots supporting the elder

The day may be coming close when robots support a comfortable living with security of the elders. Fujita Health University (Toyoake-shi, Aichi-ken) has just opened a filed laboratory of a small robots for the life support. It is planned to improve the robots integrating the voice of the elder who will have used the experimental ones.

The rapid aging of the Japanese population is known to the world but not known so well that a quarter of the household is inhabited only those who are over 65 years old, of which a half is a single household. Hence robots are expected to support millions of the elders living alone.

Japan has much to contribute to the world. Drawn upon its manufacturing capacity based on craftsmanship coupled with the aging of the population fastest in the world, a robot supporting the elders’ lives is an excellent example.

The aging is a fact of life for everyone. I hope that Japan will find a brand new area of its competitiveness using the country’s resources, including the elders, who have not been valued in society.

  • The news items referred here are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The cited titles or articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

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Pick of the week from Japan, 4 – 8 September

5 Sep. Falling short of night entertainments in Japan? A number of shows being offered to overseas visitors

An increasing number of night entertainment is being offered in Japan in response to demand of overseas visitors who miss enjoyable night life, amid saturating volume of expense by the visitors. A variety of ideas are being put in place, organising drama that integrate traditional arts, or those with simultaneous interpretation. The Government starts pushing forward the creation of tourist attractions, too.

I see it as an import of international habits in Japan. Habit of international visitors motivated Japanese entertainment industries to create variety of night entertainments.

Films, concerts, theaters and other various night entertainment exist and form an industry of substantial volume in Japan. A major problem for international visitors is that almost all are available in Japanese language only and not taken into account the international audience. Although there are some traditional arts that provide comments and interpretation in English, such as Kabuki performances, these are rather exceptions.

The entertainment industry involves various professions and services, such as music, literature, theater management, etc. These will have to be performed taking into account international customers. This will be a substantial change for a homogeneous country such as Japan. The internationalisation of the entertainment business will inevitably spill over to a large number of various services involved in the business. Such kind of grass roots demand for the development of international orientation in domestic business may eventually make the Japanese more outward-looking than now.

  • The news items referred here are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The cited titles or articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

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The city that allows the youth assembly performs compilation of the budget

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Pick of the week from Japan, 28 Aug. – 1 Sep.

27 Aug. The city that allows the youth assembly performs compilation of the budget, upon their voice “Japan is in danger!”

A young man with his hair died in blond, high school girls in their school uniforms are seated in the assembly hall of a city hall. The mayor and municipal executives sitting in front of them show a serious face.

What’s happening?

These are 25 youth “members of the City Assembly” who responded to the public invitation for the youth members of the Assembly addressed to the age from 16 to 29 years old in Shinshiro city, Aichi ken, on 22nd.

It is not unusual to see a sham assembly held in schools or even some cities as social education. In contrast, Shinshiro city let the youth assembly to decide in reality the use of the budget of the city, i.e. how to use the tax.

The sum of the budget is 10 million yen. 

Sum,  For the business that I name “a youth assembly” and launched from the year before last, inspection occurs successively from all over Japan. This initiative, named “the youth assembly” started two years ago. A number of visitors come to see the assembly from all over Japan.

Comments:
I found the news hopeful for Japan!

The voting rate of the country has been decreasing since years, even to the level of about 30%. It has been even worrisome that the voting rate of the young generation, the 20s and 30s are lower than the elders. Many young voters felt them powerless to vote. They felt that one vote can’t change even the society. It is worrisome for the future of the country.

The original idea of the youth assembly of Shinshiro city started by an initiative of a young citizen, Shuhei Takeshita (26 years old). He was shocked to see a number of European young men and women of the same generation seriously debating political issues when he visited an assembly of the young who are from the cities whose name meant “a new castle” held on New Castle in the UK.

Shuhei never thought of policy issues as his own issues. He immediately though that it was not a matter of language barrier but a huge gap in the interests of the youth to policies of their own cities.

Returning to his city, he started organising a group to study policy issues of Shinshiro city.

It was a great story! Shuhei turned his shock in the UK to a concrete action. He involved others, instead of staying being sorry for his lack of interests in local policies in the past.

One person can’t change the society overnight, but there are always something which one can do for the change.

It is a health sign that there are young people here and there who try to improve the society through work with municipal assemblies.

 

  • The news items referred here are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The cited titles or articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

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Contest of cars with anime characters painted all over

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Pick of the week from Japan, 21 – 25 August

21 Aug. Brilliant photographs! 200 of Itahsa contest in the Shimizu Port with the Mount Fuji and the ocean in background

SISFES (Shimizu Itasha Seaside Fes), a festival of cars decorated by characters of animations and Manga, called “Itasha“, was held in Shimizu Marine Park and its surrounding areas (Shimizu-shi, Shizuoka.ken) on 20th August. Approximately 170 cars, and approximately 30 motorcycle got together from in and outside the prefecture including metropolitan Tokyo area and the Western regions of Japan.

Enourmous nergy of manga and anime lovers contributes to the regional economy.

A number of events of Itasha are held all over Japan every year, in cities and rural areas, even such remote spot as a water dam site. What an energy of those who are enthusiast of cars heavily decorated by anime characters!

What’s behind of these flourishing Itasha festivals is the need for great events that will provide business for local shops, restaurants, hotels, etc.

 

 

痛車

 

  • The news items referred here are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The cited titles or articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

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Are women member of the Diet abandoning their duties if they are pregnant?

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Pick of the week from Japan, 14 – 18 August

15 Aug. Takako Suzuki, a member of the Diet, “I cannot consent” to be accused of duties abandonment, because of pregnancy

A female Diet member who reports the pregnancy is often criticised as the duties abandonment in Japan. Against background that the country has a very small number of women involved in political decision-making process,  some advocate need for maternity and parental leave for the members of the Diet to facilitate women to join in the policy debates.

The ratio of the Congresswoman of the Japanese House of Representatives is 9.3%, and it is the 164th of the world, according to a survey of the Lower House undertaken by an international organization “Inter-Parliamentary Union” announced in July.

It is surprising that there is no official rule of maternity or child-care leave for members of the Diet or assemblies of the local governments in Japan.

It is even amazing that it is not unusual to see some people criticize those women members of the Diet who are pregnant, because “they are abandoning the duties”,

Why do women still have to be criticised because of pregnancy in the country where the gender equality is established in the Constitution?

Good news at least is that women members of the Diet started fighting against those criticism, as Ms Suzuki does. It is a sad reality of Japanese society but one must admit that women must stand up and raise their voices against unreasonable criticisms that block their professional development, even in the 21st century.

  • The news items referred here are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The cited titles or articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

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JR East is acquiring operation rights of a British railway company

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Pick of the week from Japan, 7 – 11 August

11 Aug. JR East to strengthen its overseas business, acquiring operation rights of a British railway company

JR East (a major railway company in Japan) announced that the company had acquired the operation rights of a railroad network of approximately 900 kilos of the central part of the U.K. owned byWest Midlands in cooperation with Abellio, a railway company of the Netherlands and  Mitsui & Co., Ltd., a major Japanese trading company. JR East will be responsible for train operation management and organisation of a railroad diagram for approximately ten years from this December. It is naive that JR East participates in the operation of the railroad service abroad.

JR East has been a part of the state-owned railway company for decades., even since its privatisation and divestiture in 1987.

Now the time for a big change is arriving. Japanese specialists of railway operations will be working for a UK domestic railway company. From one domestic business to another– what a leap it is. This is a fundamental change for the staff transferred to the UK. While there are ample professional skill sets for JR East to bring and apply to operate the British company, the way of doing would be largely different between the two companies.

Exposure to other cultures is the last thing which a domestic giant, such as an ex-monopoly national railway company, would experience.

Globalization is reaching little by little but steadily to the most unexpected companies snd their people in Japan. A number of such events, large and small, will drive the Japanese population to look outside the country as their partners and neighbors.

  • The news items referred here are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The cited titles or articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

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