Photo/IllutrationEnvironment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, left, and Christel Takigawa, a French-Japanese television personality, announce their wedding engagement in August 2019. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Environment Minister and expectant father Shinjiro Koizumi said on Jan. 15 that he will take about 14 days leave during the three months following the birth of his first baby to help raise the child.

Koizumi, 38, plans to attend Diet deliberations during that time and sometimes work remotely to juggle his official and fatherly duties.

"I hope that by my taking child care leave, as minister, other officials of my ministry will feel encouraged to do the same," said Koizumi, who is considered a prime candidate for Japan's future prime minister, at a meeting of the ministry.

With his wife, Christel Takigawa, expected to give birth to their baby soon, he has already conveyed his intentions to top officials in the prime minister's office.

For 14 days leave during the three-month period, he will use teleconference for meetings as part of telework.

Koizumi, who previously described Japan as "old-fashioned" when a debate erupted over his indication that he would take paternity leave, has cleared his weekend schedule ahead of assuming his new role as a father.