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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 10 - 16  > LDP lawmaker refers to his colleague’s giving birth as ‘greatest achievement’ in her term of office
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2019 July 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

LDP lawmaker refers to his colleague’s giving birth as ‘greatest achievement’ in her term of office

July 14, 2019
Yet again a male Liberal Democratic Party Dietmember has made a sexist remark based on outdated gender stereotypes.

LDP member of the House of Representatives Mitsuya Norio on July 12 gave a speech in Mie Prefecture in order to support a female LDP incumbent candidate’s campaign for the July 21 House of Councilors election. Mitsuya said, “The greatest achievement in her six-year term of office was to have given birth to a baby.”

Mitsuya’s remark reflects his belief that the pivotal task for women is to have babies. This is not so different from the authoritarian demand in prewar and wartime Japan that women should produce children as an important service to the state.

Mitsuya is just the latest example of LDP male lawmakers making sexist remarks generating controversy.

In May, former Olympic Minister Sakurada Yoshitaka asserted that women should have at least three children which elicited fierce public criticism. Finance Minister Aso Taro in February made a remark blaming the "selfishness" of childless couples for Japan’s declining birthrate. LDP Secretary General Nikai Toshihiro in June 2018 said, “Let us move in the direction of encouraging women to have many children in order to enhance Japan’s prosperity.” In September 2015 Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide commented on a celebrity marriage and said that he hopes that it will inspire women to have babies and as a result serve the interest of the nation. In January 2007, under the first Abe government, the then Welfare Minister Yanagisawa Hakuo said that women are birth-making machines.

LDP lawmakers keep making remarks ignoring or disrespecting women’s rights. This is most likely because the LDP as a whole has very little understanding of individual dignity and gender equality. Politicians should not tell individuals to have children or to specify the number of children women should have as this is a purely personal matter related to freedom of choice.

Past related article:
> ’To raise children is important service to state’ seems to be common belief among LDP [June 3, 2019]
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