Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda wants more to see more women in the country’s labour market.
This especially with Japan’s rapidly declining and ageing population.
Until a few years ago, it was the norm for Japanese women to become full-time housewives after getting married.
Twenty-nine-year-old Yumi Katsu used to work for a food company in Nagano.
But she left her job when she got married to a man in Tokyo.
Now her full-time job is looking after her two children.
The Japanese government is encouraging men to take on more childcare duties – by asking companies to give out paternity leave.
But that’s still not common practice, and men are afraid of losing their jobs if they take time off.
Yumi eventually wants to return to work.
Data shows 77 per cent of women between the ages of 25 and 29 work.
But that figure drops to 66 per cent for those between the ages of 35 and 39.
Yoko Mizuno, 34, was working in the insurance business before she left her job upon having her first child.
She wants to go back to work, as soon as she finds a daycare center for her son.
Kaori Iijima, a senior year student at Tokyo Kasei University, said she’d prefer to work for as long as possible.
Labor ministry figures show the number of working women fell in 2010.
However, the number of working men stood at 42 per cent – the highest ever.