72-year-old Japanese Lawmaker in Prime Minister Shizo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Kanji Kato, who advised newlyweds to raise at least three children, has come under fire for also saying women should have several children or risk becoming a burden on the state.
Shortly after the statement, Seiko Noda, the minister in charge of women’s empowerment who lashed out at the lawmaker over the statement, said;
“It was a terrible gaffe.The number of children won’t increase by just making such remarks.”
Kato who claimed he often told young women that if they do not get married and have no offspring, they will end up in a care home run with the taxes of other people’s children, had told a group of LDP members earlier this week: “I ask bridal couples to bear and raise more than three children for sure.”
The Japanese Lawmaker however later retracted his remarks. His statement reads in part;
“I apologise if my words gave the wrong impression. Although I never intended to discriminate against women, I retract the remarks I made because they could have been interpreted as such.”
Rapidly-greying Japan has one of the world’s lowest birth rates and authorities are trying out several policies to encourage people to have more children. In 2003, former prime minister Yoshiro Mori was heavily criticized for suggesting childless women should be denied welfare payments in old age.
Last year about 941,000 children were born in Japan, the lowest since the national survey started in 1899. In 2003, former prime minister Yoshiro Mori drew fire for suggesting childless women should be denied welfare payments in old age.
Mori said: “Women who have not had a single child get old after their wonderful free life and then ask for public money (in welfare). That doesn’t make sense at all.”
In 2007, then-health minister Hakuo Yanagisawa infamously referred to women as “child-bearing machines”. Last year a female local politician brought her baby to a council session to show how difficult it was for women to juggle careers and raise children.