Deputy PM Taro Aso Apologizes For Saying Women Are The Problem For Japan’s Declining Population

Taro Aso
(Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato)

Japan's Deputy Prime Minister, Taro Aso, has been criticized after seemingly putting the blame on women for their country's low birth rates and dwindling population. Many were appalled by his claims so the 78-year-old was forced to apologize to the public especially the offended women.

According to The Independent, the issue arose when Aso delivered his speech at a constituency meeting that was held in Fukuoka, Japan last weekend. During the meeting, he told the audience that the elderly were not the reason for their country's diminishing population but pointed to women as the real cause.

"There are lots of strange people who say the elderly are to blame, but that is wrong," the media quoted the deputy prime minister as saying. "The problem is with those who didn't give birth. The aging population, combined with the diminishing number of children is the grave issue in the mid and long term."

It was learned that Aso himself does not have a child of his own thus people find his remark even more offensive. The 78-year-old official also serves as Japan's Finance Minister so he later attended a budget committee session where he retracted his statements against women.  

The Guardian reported that the when the opposition grilled the deputy PM during the budget hearing session, he apologizes for blaming childless women for the country's population demographic crisis related to low birthrate.

Taro Aso stated on Monday, Feb. 5, that he would recant his remarks if it caused misunderstandings. He added that the press had taken his words out of context so the people received his message in a negative way.

The lawmaker claimed that he only wants to highlight the effects of Japan's declining birth rate. He said that it poses a great threat to the country's economic health.

In any case, Aso apologized by saying, "I'd like to withdraw my comments and will be careful with my words in the days ahead. It gave a false impression without conveying the meaning of my original remark."

Meanwhile, Japan is one of the countries with the most senior citizen population. In fact, it is being referred to as the "super-aged" population nation since 20 percent of its population is 65 years old and above. Based on the records, the demographic decline has been going on since the 1970s. While Japan tried to remedy the problem by implementing policies to boost birth rates in the 90s, it appears that the country still failed to increase its population. 

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