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The goal of this chapter is to analyse the factors that might have affected the gender division of labour in Japan by investigating the interaction between policies…
The goal of this chapter is to analyse the factors that might have affected the gender division of labour in Japan by investigating the interaction between policies, culture and practices on gender equality and fathers’ involvement in childcare, and examine whether there is possibility of moving towards a more equal share of paid work and care as in other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. To achieve this goal, the chapter explores the changes in the discourse of experts and policy makers on the role of fathers and mothers in the care of children, legislation aimed at the resolution of the gendered division of labour and larger involvement of fathers in childcare and the resultant change (or persistence) in individual attitudes and practices of fathers and mothers.
The overview of the changes in Japan suggests that the culture, institutions, and practices related to fathers’ involvement in childcare interact with each other at different paces and bring a greater involvement of fathers in childcare.
However, the preceding increase in fathers’ time in childcare and housework still only results in a much shorter time than fathers spend in most of the European countries. Although, the rapid increase after 2010 in the proportion of mothers who continue to work after childbearing may trigger a breakthrough in the persistent gendered division of labour in Japan, this would also require other components of gender arrangements such as effective regulation of working time.