Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

A majority of Japanese agree for the first time that “women should continue working even after they have children,” according to a Cabinet Office poll.

The same survey found that fewer people agreed with the statement that "husbands should work outside and wives should take care of the home” compared with earlier polls.

“More people now have an understanding of women continuing to work,” said a Cabinet Office official.

Conducted in August and September, 5,000 people aged 18 or over across Japan were interviewed about gender equality in society for the survey. It received responses from 3,059 people, or 61.2 percent.

The last poll, in 2014, and other earlier surveys covered those 20 or older, but this time the subject age was lowered to 18 in correlation with the voting age.

According to the results, 54.2 percent of those surveyed overall said women “should continue to work,” with 55.3 percent of female respondents agreeing, as did 52.9 percent of men.

Those who said women should maintain their jobs accounted for 54.4 percent of those 20 or over, up 9.6 percentage points from the previous poll. It is the first time the ratio has exceeded 50 percent since the study started in 1992.

Meanwhile, 54.3 percent--the second highest ever--said they oppose the idea that "husbands should work outside and wives should take care of the home.” The figure was 4.9 points higher than the previous survey, while 40.6 percent supported the idea, down 4.0 points from the last poll.

The survey also asked about people’s attitudes toward use of maiden names after marriage for the first time.

The findings showed that 31.1 percent “hope to use” their maiden names at their workplaces even after their family names are changed due to marriage.

Those who said so account for 23.9 percent of female respondents and 39.5 percent of male respondents.

More young people than older respondents said they want to continue using their maiden names at work, with 40.5 percent of those aged between 18 and 29--the largest proportion compared with other age groups--backing the idea.