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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 January 30 - February 5  > Deputy Prime Minister under fire for his remark laying blame on women for Japan’s declining birthrate
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2019 January 30 - February 5 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Deputy Prime Minister under fire for his remark laying blame on women for Japan’s declining birthrate

February 5, 2019
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aso Taro on February 4 at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting withdrew his remark laying the blame on women for Japan’s shrinking population in reaction to fierce criticism from opposition parties.

The minister made the controversial remark on the previous day in his lecture at a speech gathering held in his hometown prefecture of Fukuoka. Bringing up the issue of the declining birth rate and aging population that Japan is facing, Aso said, “Those who criticize the increase in the number of elderly people are totally wrong. If anyone’s to blame, it’s women who are reluctant to become mothers.”

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on February 4 at a press conference in the Diet building gave his comment on Aso's remark and criticized him for trying to place the blame on women for causing the lower birth rates. He said, “Aso’s remark shows that Aso feels no sense of repentance for the Abe government’s policies which have led to the decrease in births, such as excessively long working hours, shortages in childcare centers, and heavy financial burdens associated with childrearing.”

Koike referred to the fact that Aso came under fire in 2014 for similar remarks, and said, “Aso never learned lessons from his past discriminatory words and actions. He is not qualified to be the Finance Minister.”

Koike also noted that in the Lower House committee meeting, Aso spoke as if he welcomes an aging society. Koike added, “If so, the minister should take a lead to put an end to the government’s welfare cutbacks targeting elderly people which include cuts in pension benefits and the termination of measurers to ease burdens associated with the healthcare insurance system for people aged 75 and over.”

Past related articles:
> Finance Minister: Victims should come forward to prove ministry bureaucrat’s acts of sexual harassment [April 18, 2018]
> LDP official blames childless couples for rise in social welfare spending for the aged [December 9, 2014]

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