Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said Monday he had taken 12 days of paternity leave in one month after his first child was born.

Koizumi has said he planned to take about 14 days of parental leave in three months and that he is considering extending it.

The House of Representatives member garnered attention last month when he said he would take paternity leave after the birth of his first child, a rare move in a country where only 6.16 percent of men took leave in fiscal 2018, compared with 82.2 percent of women, according to government data.

He first mentioned his plan last August after he announced his marriage to his wife, TV personality Christel Takigawa.

"You become aware and learn about a range of things" by taking paternity leave, Koizumi told a gathering of ministry employees including those considering taking parental leave.

The government hopes to raise the rate of men taking child care leave in the public and private sectors this year and plans to encourage male civil service workers to take child care leave for a minimum of one month starting in April.

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