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    Kimono-clad visitors walk at the Kanda Myojin Shinto shrine in the rain during its festival in Tokyo Saturday, May 13, 2017

    Japan MP Faces Backlash After Calling Single Women a State Burden

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    Asia & Pacific
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    Japanese lawmaker is facing a backlash after saying women should have more than a few children or risk becoming a burden on the state.

    A 72-year-old MP Kanji Kato said that the newlyweds should raise at least three children. His remarks, which he later retracted, were met with anger by aminister in charge of women’s empowerment.

    "It was a terrible gaffe," Seiko Noda, who is also internal affairs minister and a senior member of the LDP, said in a speech, according to local media.

    She added, "The number of children won't increase by just making such remarks."

    Earlier, Kato said he often told young women that if they did not get married and have no children then they would end up in a care home for old people which would be paid with the taxes of other people's children.

    His concern may have spawned from the fact that Japan has one of the world's lowest birth rates and establishment is trying out several policies to persuade people to have more children.

    Last year, about 941,000 children were born in Japan, the lowest since the national survey had started in 1899.

    However, sometimes in the effort to persuade women to give birth the authorities embarrass themselves as then-health minister Hakuo Yanagisawa did back in 2007, when he infamously referred to women as "child-bearing machines".


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