Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, a potential future prime minister according to some opinion polls, said he became the father of a baby boy on Friday.

The boy is the first child for Koizumi and his 42-year-old wife, TV personality Christel Takigawa. The couple married in August.

The 38-year-old son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi attracted attention earlier this week by announcing he would take paternity leave, a rare move in a country where many men do not take time off for the birth of children.

"I'm glad I was able to witness (the birth)," he told reporters, adding the mother and child are both in good health.

(Shinjiro Koizumi (L) Christel Takigawa are surrounded by reporters at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on Aug. 7, 2019, after telling Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of their intent to marry)

"I am happy and relieved as a father," Koizumi later told a press conference. "I would like to be just like my own father."

The minister is expected to take a total of two weeks off during the first three months by working fewer hours, telecommuting and having subordinates shoulder some of his workload.

The regular working hours of Environment Ministry officials is seven hours and 45 minutes a day, and having two weeks off is equivalent to roughly 110 hours off, according to the ministry.

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