- A top Japanese lawmaker called people who opt not to have kids “selfish,” as Japan’s birth rates have continued to plummet.
- The politician said in order for everyone in Japan to be happy, people need to have more children.
- Japan’s population is facing a demographic time bomb, with its elderly population growing older and its younger generations continuing to shrink.
A top Japanese lawmaker called people who opt not to have kids “selfish,” as Japan’s population rapidly ages and shrinks.
“In order for everyone [in Japan] to be happy, we should have many children and develop our country,” Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai said in a speech in Tokyo on Tuesday, Kyodo News reported.
“During and after the war when [Japanese people] were living on the edge of starvation, nobody said it’s better not to have children because it would be too much trouble,” Nikai said. “These days, some people have a selfish idea that it is better not to give birth to children.”
Several other ruling Liberal Democratic members have come under fire for their stances on child rearing in a country where the population is rapidly shrinking.
Last month, Kanji Kato, a 72-year-old house member, said he tells newlyweds at their wedding that they “must raise at least three children.” Another senior party member, Executive Acting Secretary-General Koichi Hagiuda, said in May that young children need to be raised in an “environment in which they can stay with their mothers” and that the idea of fathers being primary care-givers is an “unwelcome” idea.
Japan’s population is experiencing a rapid decline, with its elderly population growing older and larger while the younger generations continuing to shrink.
The country’s birth rate is hovering at 1.4, nearly half of what it was in the 1970s, and the country now has the highest ratio of centenarians of any country. More than a quarter of Japanese citizens is over the age of 65.
A 2016 survey found that almost 70% of unmarried Japanese men and 60% of unmarried Japanese women weren’t in relationships. Still, most people claim they do want to get married eventually, but economic difficulties, a strong focus on work-life, and an inadequate social support system make it difficult for couples to easily raise children.
There is such a shortfall of childcare services that one woman working at a nursery recently apologised for getting pregnant ahead of the schedule her boss had previously set.
Despite this, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set a goal to increase the birth rate to 1.8 by 2025 and the government is even organising speed-dating events to encourage more young people to bear children.
But Abe said on Wednesday that Nikai was wrong and highlighted the fact even he does not have children.
“We should not impose our opinion on others,” he said.
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