Japanese Lawmaker Says Not Having Children is ‘Selfish’

Politicians from Japan’s ruling party are placing the blame of the country’s population crisis on people who preferred not to have children, with one official calling them “selfish.”

Japan’s population decline, which sees a trend decreasing the number of Japanese by one third in the next 50 years, has prompted the government to implement measures to boost rates to at least 1.8 children per woman, Express reports.

But despite the government’s efforts in providing incentives to expectant mothers, the looming demographic crisis is proving to be quite difficult to address.

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According to Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, people who choose not to have children at a time of such crisis are being “selfish.”

“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,” the 79-year-old father of three said during a speech in Tokyo on Tuesday.

“These days, some people have a selfish idea that it is better not to give birth to children. In order for everyone (in Japan) to be happy, we should have many children and develop our country,” he added.

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The comments made by the House of Representatives member echoed similar views earlier remarked by fellow party members, Japan Today reports.

Lower house member Kanji Kato sparked controversy last month by stating that he tells newlywed couples at wedding receptions he attends that they “must raise at least three children.”

Koichi Hagiuda. Photo via Flickr / Dick Thomas Johnson (CC BY 2.0)

LDP’s Executive Acting Secretary-General Koichi Hagiuda proclaimed later in the month that raising infants and toddlers is a job for mothers, and that it is an “unwelcome idea” for fathers to take such a role.

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Such comments have been widely criticized by the public, with many describing the officials as being “out of touch” with the reality of the difficulties faced by Japanese families with small children.

One commonly cited problem is the availability of childcare facilities in the country.

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