Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My friend, who is an attorney here in Japan, has corrected the comments I made on the previous post.  According to him, "we do actually have by law paid (14 weeks – 6 before and 8 after giving birth) and after that extended unpaid maternity leave with a guaranteed legal right to return to work (up to one year, during which time the government will pay you 50% of your pay if your employer does not).  In fact in that weird Japanese law way, you are actually required by law to take at least the 8 weeks post-partum paid leave … Most working women who become pregnant do take full advantage of these systems, and it is illegal of course to fire someone for being pregnant, so that really no longer happens for full time employees whether by direct or indirect means as the courts have been pretty harsh on violators.  In our small operation here we have had 3 lawyers and 4 staff members do this in the last 3 years and that’s pretty typical for any business; all returned to work although some of them have opted for a reduced hour schedule. HOWEVER, the real social, legal and practical problem is that it is not easy for them to return to work because the child care/day care system is so highly inadequate; also, and this is probably what Tacey and others are referring to, people who are part time or fixed short term employees, which is an increasing portion of the working population, do not generally have the maternity leave protection.  There are also serious issues surrounding opportunities for promotion and advancement for those who take leave/have children."

It's good to get the facts straight. 

The last several days have been so wonderful.  Having lost my childhood for so long, it's wonderfully emotional to reconnect to my Japanese little girl.  We rode the Shinkansen up to Nagano and rented a car and drove to Nojiri lake.  I grew up coming to Nojiri every summer.  We had a cabin on the mountain overlooking the lake.  The last cabin we owned caught on fire in 1997 and a young girl and her dog died in the fire.  It was very emotional seeing the property without our house on it.  The tragic loss of life and emotions of being here as a child were so overwhelming.  While we were looking for the house, we met a woman and her two daughters who live in Tokyo but were visiting Nojiri during Spring Break.  We found out that the two daughters attend ASIJ and I explained that we would be there on Monday with the 13 sisters.  The mother was overwhelmed and said, "something was just telling me that we should stay today and now I know why."  We shed some tears together and talked some more.  I am hopeful to be able to see them again in Tokyo. 

Yesterday we connected with our childhood friends and went to Togakushi and ate soba.  Then we drove over to Nagano to see the snow monkeys.  All of the mountains tops are covered with snow and the view is breathtaking. 

Today we head over to the Japan Sea and hopefully to some ski slopes close by.  We are bringing the kids back next year and hopefully if the conditions are right they will get to ski. 

Alright,  on our way to the west part of the island. 

No comments:

Post a Comment