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Friday, May 28, 1999 Published at 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Japanese cabinet looks at women's woes

The Japanese government is to carry out a nationwide survey on violence against women in an effort to devise legislation to tackle the problem.

The move was announced by the chief cabinet secretary, Hiromu Nonaka, who said it was in response to a new report which found that Japanese society tended to tolerate both prostitution and violence against women.

The report by a government advisory panel was submitted yesterday and suggested that easy access to pornography and depictions of violent abuse against women through the media and computer networks may have contributed to the problem. A cabinet committee has meanwhile begun work on child care measures that might help raise the birth rate, which has hit record low levels of around 1.4 children in recent years.

At its first meeting, the committee -- headed by the prime minister, Keizo Obuchi -- urged corporations to allow employees to spend more time with their families, instead of embracing a climate that puts work first.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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