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REFILING: Couples willing to have more kids if husbands share child-care.

TOKYO, June 9 Kyodo

(EDS: FIXING TYPO IN 2ND, LAST GRAFS)

Married couples in Japan are willing to have more children if husbands play certain roles in bringing them up, although more than 80 percent of child-rearing duties are shouldered only by wives, according to a study by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research released Friday.

The finding illustrates that key to tackling Japan's low fertility rate, which continued to fall to hit a new record low of 1.25 in 2005, is to have men share in child-rearing, experts said.

In the regular survey conducted every five years since 1993, the institute, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, grouped some 7,800 respondents, married women, based on the frequency of their husbands' child-rearing involvement in bathing and changing diapers.

As a result, the survey, conducted in July 2003, found that the more the husbands are involved in child-rearing, the more the couples want to have children.

In the case of couples with one child, women whose husbands are less involved in nurturing hope to have an average of 0.8 more child, while those with a large extent of commitment by their husbands want 1.04 more children, it said.

Only 9 percent of women in the former group want to have two more children. Meanwhile, the figure doubles to 18 percent for the latter group.

On the degree couples share their child-care chores, 78 percent of those in their 20s replied that more than 80 percent of the work is done by wives, even though the ratio was the smallest of all age brackets.

The survey also showed that only 40-50 percent of husbands engage in such ''cumbersome'' tasks as lulling children to sleep and changing babies' diapers, and that about 10 percent of fathers of babies up to 1 year old don't get involved in caring for them at all.

As for housekeeping chores, the institute found that one in four women with full-time jobs spend more than four hours for domestic duties even on weekdays, and 20 percent of such women's husbands don't share the work at all.

Eighty-three percent of respondents said they think husbands should equally share the child-rearing and household chores, but 41 percent said they can expect that of their spouses, down by 6 percentage points from the previous survey, the institute said.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jun 12, 2006
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