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Japan has relatively generous parental leave policies, allowing men and women partially paid leave of up to 12 months.
While recent surveys show a majority of eligible male employees hope to take paternity leave in the future, changes are coming slowly and few fathers of newborns take time off due to the intense pressure to focus on work.
Only 6 percent of eligible working fathers took paternity leave in 2018, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, far short of the government's modest 13 percent target for 2020.
Many working fathers fear taking paternity leave will damage their careers, and those hoping to take leave often face warnings from their bosses or colleagues.
A handful of men have sued their employers alleging they were subject to what is known in Japan as "pata-hara", short for paternity harassment, after taking parental leave.
The issue is a particular concern given Japan's birthrate, which in 2018 was one of the world's lowest - and far below the rate the country needs to maintain its population.
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