Former prime minister insults women -- Akahata 'Current' column, July 4, 2003

Japan's former Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro, also known as the king of gaffes of the Liberal Democratic Party, made another unbelievable remark in Kagoshima City late last month: "The country appreciates and takes care of women who have borne many children. That is what welfare is about."

Mori went on to say, "It is strange for the state to use tax money to take care of women who enjoy a free life without having any children."

He had disgusted the public by stating, "Japan is a divine country with the emperor at its center." His latest remarks remind us of the slogan "Make more children" chanted in Japan as the "divine country" during WW II.

In order to increase the number of soldiers and workers, the government encouraged each married couple to have five children. It urged the citizens to "get married and raise children to reward your country." Many women, who rushed into marriage in response to the call, lost their husbands in the war before giving birth to any children.

After WW II, the notion of marriage and child birth has changed, but it's also a fact that there are women who cannot or choose not to have children for various reasons. Mori's comment insults these women.

Mori made the controversial remarks during a discussion on the issue of Japan's falling birthrate. In order to reverse the decline, the need is for the government to inject tax money in efforts to create an environment that will encourage women to have children. But politicians like Mori do not suggest any such measures. During the era in which Japan was a "divine country", the government exhausted women by forcing them to work hard "behind the gun" while calling on them to "make more babies." (end)

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