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Survey of Fathers' Views on Childrearing in Japan I - Research Design Outline

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Survey of Father's Views on Childrearing in Japan I

Survey Background

An announcement by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on December 22 stating that the number of deaths in Japan exceeded births in 2005 was widely reported. Since the shift to a declining population began two years earlier than predicted, its social impact has been tremendous. In the beginning of 2006, the issue of the dwindling birthrate was in all the headlines and many researchers and business leaders were requested to comment. Their comments often cited the need to "review fathers' ways of working" and "make work and family compatible."

However, such concerns have been voiced for some time. Actually, "Outline of countermeasures to the falling birthrate" (June, 2006) includes an item that insists on the importance of "Fathers' programs to promote the male participation in raising children." Past reviews have found that countermeasures focusing on mothers, especially working mothers, could not solve the problem. This measure thus reflects the growing recognition that support of the entire family is necessary.

On the other hand, the participation of elderly people and women in workforce is often discussed as a way to solve the predicted future lack of labor. For women, balancing work and child rearing requires promoting gender equality both at home and in the workplace, and increasing the father's sharing of household chores and child rearing. However, there had been no comprehensive data which shows how fathers feel about child rearing, how they actually participate in it or what they think of balancing work and family. When the review of fathers ways of working was proposed, the real condition of Japanese fathers was not known statistically.

Benesse Corporation conducted five surveys on child rearing in the last decade, mainly focusing on mothers. This time, therefore, we tried to uncover the reality of Japanese child rearing by focusing on current fathers' views of childrearing. The survey was conducted through the Internet for three days in August 2005, and received responses from 2,958 fathers in their 20s to 40s who have at least one child aged between 0 to 6 years old. The survey shows valuable data on the attitude and awareness of young fathers in Japan.

Survey period, sample, area and method

Survey method; questionnaire on Internet
Survey period; August in 2005
Survey sample; 2,958 fathers of 0 to 6 aged preschoolers
Survey area; Tokyo metropolitan area (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama)
Survey population; 2,958
Fathers of infants aged 0, 430; 1, 467; 2, 468; 3, 473;
4,488; 5, 480; 6, 152

Basic attribute of sample

Figure 2: Types of working (fathers)


Figure 3: Types of working (mothers)


Figure 1: Time of coming home (fathers)



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