A controversial article published in Shukan Bunshun, a popular weekly magazine in Japan, has ignited a public debate about where the responsibility for domestic chores and child rearing lies in two-paycheck families.
A July survey published by the Prime Minister’s Office reported that 85 percent of women and 89 percent of Japanese men believe that women should be responsible for childcare and household responsibilities regardless of their employment status.
Women account for 40 percent of Japan’s workforce, and many are overwhelmed by their never-ending responsibilities. “I feel as though it’s all been dumped on my shoulders,” sighs Tamaki Shimizu, a woman whose workday continues after she arrives at home.
Although the number of working women is rising and Japanese women are gradually obtaining better, higher-paying jobs, discriminatory hiring practices and sexual harassment remain rampant.