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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 May 29 - June 4  > ‘To raise children is important service to state’ seems to be common belief among LDP
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2019 May 29 - June 4 [POLITICS]

‘To raise children is important service to state’ seems to be common belief among LDP

June 3, 2019
Yet again a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker made a disturbing remark which disregards reproductive rights. Former Olympic Minister Sakurada Yoshitaka on May 29 referred to Japan’s declining birth rate and suggested that every couple should have at least three children which elicited severe public criticism. A decision on how many children to have or whether to have children at all is entirely a personal matter and should be free from interference by government offices or individual politicians.

Given that members of the Abe Cabinet and top LDP officials have made similar remarks, Sakurada’s statement is a result of not just his personal character but also the sexist proclivity of the LDP.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aso Taro in February in regard to the decrease in the number of newborn babies said, “I often hear people saying the older generations are to be blamed, but it’s women who decide not to have babies.” He later retracted this comment after being criticized in the Diet. LDP Secretary General Nikai Toshihiro and Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide also made more or less the same type of remark.

When the first Abe Cabinet was in power in 2007, Welfare Minister Yanagisawa Hakuo was forced to resign over his characterization of women s “birth-giving machines”. This was followed by a series of resignations of Cabinet members, leading to the stepping down of Abe himself.

In a more recent case, LDP member of the House of Representatives Sugita Mio in July 2018 in a magazine article wrote that LGBT couples cannot bear children so they are unproductive. This comment caused much controversy. Sugita, who was elected in 2017 from the Chugoku proportional block in the Lower House election, was formerly a Dietmember of the Nippon Ishin no Kai political party.

All these remarks are based on the extreme nationalist idea that people should have children as an important service to the nation. This notion was behind many of the policies of the imperial Japanese government during WWII which urged women to produce as many children as possible.

Past related articles:
> Olympics minister resigns over his unsympathetic remark about 2011 disaster victims [April 12, 2019]
> LDP lawmaker’s ‘raise at least 3 kids’ remark is epitomy of sexual harassment: JCP Kasai [May 11&12, 2018]
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