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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 7 - 13  > JCP Sasaki grills Abe Cabinet over welfare minister’s remarks
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2007 February 7 - 13 [POLITICS]

JCP Sasaki grills Abe Cabinet over welfare minister’s remarks

January 9, 2007
At a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on February 8, Japanese Communist Party representative Sasaki Kensho criticized the Abe Cabinet for defending Health, Labor, and Welfare Minister Yanagisawa Hakuo despite his controversial remark that women are “birth-giving machines.”

In regard to the Yanagisawa remark, Sasaki criticized Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and other cabinet ministers, stating, “The cabinet has shown no respect for human dignity and women’s rights.” He pointed out that what underlies Yanagisawa’s remark is the idea of inducing people to “give birth and increase children for the country” that was called for during WWII.

In reply, Abe said, “[Yanagisawa’s remark] was inappropriate,” and Yanagisawa simply repeated his apology.

Sasaki demanded the dismissal of Yanagisawa by stating, “He is not qualified to be a minister in charge of protecting human rights in the areas of social welfare, health, and labor,” but the prime minister spoke up for the welfare minister.

As Yanagisawa made the controversial remark in connection with measures dealing with the falling birth rate, Sasaki stated, “The need now is for the government to create an environment in which people can get married, have children, and rear children free of anxiety.”

As an example of this task, Sasaki cited the hardships of single-parent families, and called for a full restoration of child-raising allowances that had been cut back in 2002.

Both Abe and Yanagisawa, however, rejected Sasaki’s demands.

Sasaki stated, “The Cabinet is unwilling to take effective measures to help in child-raising. This shows that the Cabinet’s apology for the welfare minister’s remarks is simply rhetoric. I must say that this Cabinet itself is a problem.”
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