Over half of Japan's male workers haven't used child-rearing support: Survey

A survey by Japan's biggest labor organization shows that many working parents with children in elementary school or younger have never used child-rearing support programs.

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, conducted the survey in August on 500 men and 500 women in their 20s to 50s. It released the results on Thursday.

The survey found that 37.2 percent of women and 58.4 percent of men had never used programs such as childcare leave and shortened work hours.

As for the reason, 42.3 percent of the respondents cited work environment constraints, while 19.7 percent expressed concern about a potential decrease in income.

The respondents were asked what they thought would be effective measures in helping couples balance work and childcare. The government is promoting such lifestyles.

The top measure, favored by 32.6 percent, was an increase in the allowance for childcare leave. This was followed by an introduction of flexible working hours, at 30.9 percent. Additionally, 27 percent suggested the implementation of telework.

An official of Rengo said male workers still find it difficult to take childcare leave in the current working environment. The official said discussions are needed to revise the current programs so that they are accessible to all workers who wish utilize them, regardless of gender.