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50% in Japan say both parents should be raising kids after divorce: survey

A sign for the Ministry of Justice is seen at the entrance to the central government building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Feb. 2, 2019. (Mainichi/Kazuo Motohashi)

TOKYO -- About 50% of respondents to a nationwide survey said both divorced parents should be involved in raising their children, recently released results showed.

    The survey on divorce and child rearing was conducted by the Cabinet Office. The Legislative Council -- an advisory body to the justice minister -- is discussing a review of child rearing and parental rights following parents' divorce. Its results will be used by the Ministry of Justice as a reference.

    The Japanese Civil Code provides for joint custody between parents during marriage, but "sole custody" after divorce where one parent becomes the custodian.

    When asked whether both divorced parents should be involved in raising young children, 11.1% of respondents said it is "desirable in all cases," and 38.8% answered it is "desirable in many cases," together accounting for around half of those surveyed.

    More than 90% answered in the affirmative when the 41.6% of respondents who chose "desirable if specific conditions exist" are included. But even among those answering positively, many said involvement is undesirable in cases of child abuse or serious conflict between parents. Just 5.7% said it was "undesirable in any case."

    Regarding what parts of children's lives should be subject to shared decisions if a joint custody system for divorced parents were introduced, 58.5% chose "treatment plans in cases of serious illness." The second most cited was "education including career paths" from 53.3% of respondents, while 32.4% named "the child's place of residence," and 12.8% cited "the child's employment."

    Regarding the sole custody system after divorce, 89.4% said they were aware of it and just 9.3% said they weren't.

    The poll targeted 5,000 people aged 18 and over from October to November 2021. It received responses from 2,768 people.

    (Japanese original by Masakatsu Yamamoto, Tokyo City News Department)

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