Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso Photo: REUTERS file
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Aso retracts remark about people who don't have children

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When grilled by an opposition lawmaker during a lower house committee session Monday, who criticized Aso's insensitivity to the feelings of people who want to have children but cannot...

Wait a minute. What about the insensitivity to people who choose not to have children?

36 ( +41 / -5 )

Well of course those people who don’t have children are to blame!!!!!!!!!

Old rich politicians like Aso depend on those kids to grow up and have kids and their kids to have kids to keep people like him rich!!!!!

What do you expect, people like him to have to lessen their millions!?

that is absurd!

their success depends on your hard work and sacrifice!! :-/

29 ( +32 / -3 )

Funny how people can pretty much say anything ignorant and insensitive then “retract “ it as though people will suddenly forget that it was ever said in the first place.

its like I said it but I will in-say it .

19 ( +24 / -5 )

It is the same Aso who said 'let elderly people hurry up and die' ! It is shocking he was not forced to resign

38 ( +38 / -0 )

"I'll retract the remark if it's caused any misunderstanding." So the retraction is conditional and puts the blame on other's not being able to understand him and nothing to do with the fact that his comment was simply uninformed, insensitive, ignorant.

34 ( +34 / -0 )

By the way, how many children does Prime Minister Abe have? But I guess it is ok for him since he is contributing to society.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Not an apology, just acting like an eraser can remove words. This man is a horrible specimen. Why he continues to remain in politics, I do not understand. He must have the backing of those who agree with what he says.

30 ( +33 / -3 )

I agree with posters above, these days you can say anything and then just retract it like it never happened. Aso has a habit of doing this, and he never gets punished for it. Maybe if child rearing costs were not so expensive, and forced overtime not so prevalent, more families would have children.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Comments from the country's #2! Maybe he should check whether the PM (and wife Akie) outranking him him had children before his next bull session.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

It’s a level of stupidity you couldn’t write a Hollywood script for. And what do you mean by conditional retraction of remarks?

16 ( +17 / -1 )

"There are lots of strange people who say the elderly are to blame, but that is wrong. The problem is those who don't have children,"

Hilarious.

Aso said that the elderly should "hurry up and die". He's now calling himself "strange".

Dementia coming for the 78 years old Taro ?

20 ( +20 / -0 )

At 78 I'd like him to comment on aged people being unable to retire, as a finance minister who obviously can't retire himself he might have an insight into this? Is it the lack of finances that requires a 78yo old to cling to his job? Or just stupidity? If I cause offence or confusion I retract my comment.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

Aso is the "granddaddy" of the blue blooded cronies pulling the strings of the forever kowtowing majority.  Japanese youth need to stand up and put these old geezers in their place... a group home for the elderly.

Oh wait!  He's only 78.  That would make him just a little brother crony.  My bad.

S

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Absolutely nothing will change. Any other true democracy would have retired this fossil.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

There are lots of strange people who say the elderly are to blame, but that is wrong.

So does that mean that you admit you were full of horse manure when YOU said that the elderly need to hurry up and die??

The problem is those who don't have children,

When grilled by an opposition lawmaker during a lower house committee session Monday, who criticized Aso's insensitivity to the feelings of people who want to have children but cannot, the heavyweight said, "I'll retract the remark if it's caused any misunderstanding."

There is no misunderstanding. You are a slimeball. We get it.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Aso is not “gaffe-prone”. He says what he does because he knows perfectly well that there will be no consequences.

As someone said, Japanese people have much the same resigned attitude towards politics and their politicians as they do towards natural disasters. Essentially, there is nothing one can do about it. Unless this changes, people like Aso will continue saying whatever they want.

23 ( +23 / -0 )

While Mr. Aso lacks diplomacy, his point is actually correct. While having children is a personal choice, no society can prosper if the birth rate is too low. Social scientists and demographers will tell us this. Nations like Japan and Denmark are taking concrete steps to encourage more childbearing for a reason.

Check out this funny video from the Danish government promoting more child bearing.

https://youtu.be/vrO3TfJc9Qw

-15 ( +6 / -21 )

Aso is surely showing signs of dementia!

And how can his remark be retracted?

It’s already been said.....

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The problem is those who don't have children," Aso, who doubles as finance minister, said ...

Shinzo must be happy to be called a ' problem ' by his blue blood buddy.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

*Hilarious.

Aso said that the elderly should "hurry up and die". He's now calling himself "strange".

Dementia coming for the 78 years old Taro ?*

Actually, and I could be remembering incorrectly, but I think he said that elderly women need to hurry up and die.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Aso can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

A gaffe is "an unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder."

So while this should embarrass Aso, it certainly isn't a blunder or unintentional. Nor are most things that come out of grown men's mouths. We say what we believe. It's just that most of us have the common sense not to say every single inane thing that pops into our head.

But this is what tends to happen when those born with silver chopsticks in their mouths, having spent their entire lives as part of a privileged elite, gain untouchable status within a ruling faction. No more reason to expect Aso will face real consequences than say Duterte or Xi. When you've got all the power you can do anything you like.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Why is he still here? Why? Nothing good comes out of that piece of garbage of a politician. Retire him already, make him go away asap.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This only proves that he is one of the WORST Japanese politicians.

If he would have been a good one, instead of this callous remark, he would have just underline the true causes for this like:

overly expensive to raise children in Japan;

women are getting fired if they get pregnant;

pre-birth controls are extremelly expensive and tiresome since not enough clinics;

not enough day-care facilities for young babies/children; grandpare ts not involved at all in the raise of children due to culture; etc
7 ( +8 / -1 )

Why is this dinosaurs still working ar 78?! Go play golf somewhere.. And stay out of gov

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"There are lots of strange people who say the elderly are to blame, but that is wrong. The problem is those who don't have children."

Aso knew exactly what he was saying, and never had any intention of apologizing. It was simple virtue-signalling to his main constituency: oldies that have no analytical abilities to speak of and will TELL their equally clipped-wing children and grandchildren how to vote.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Turns out I did remember incorrectly above, seems like he didn't say elderly women should hurry up and die, he said all elderly sick people. My bad.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Aso has an idiot's version of Tourette's syndrome. He should have been fired a long time ago.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

, "I'll retract the remark if it's caused any misunderstanding."

Misunderstanding.... You have to love the feeling of remorse showed with this statement, obviously made after deep reflection on his simplistic, arrogant , entitled, ‘blame the younger generation of working poor’ for everything sentiments. You’d almost believe him if it wasn’t his brand!

Like superman is inable to be near cryptonite, Aso is inable to be wrong. It was just a big ole misunderstanding silly.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@ TorafusuTorasanToday  07:25 am JST

Comments from the country's #2!

The country’s ‘Number 2.’ Precisely

8 ( +9 / -1 )

No problem. He and the whole LDP will go on an be re-elected. Nothing will happen. Remember where we are.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The problem is those who don't have children

What, like your pal Abe?

Remember what the Aso was saying about old people who were getting ill and toward near death? Care to take your own advice?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

blvtzpkToday 09:02 am JST

The country’s ‘Number 2.’ Precisely

Gave me a giggle.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The fact that Aso - the Poster Pappy of the LDP - still pulls all the strings (incl Abe pups) is a critical reason for the dire straits of democratic purpose in govt and elswhere.

Aso & co can say whatever they want to say without consequence. Just let a little time pass and it's business as usual.

To utter such nonsense consistently for decades without suffering politically, truly reflects the sad state of politics in Japan.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

never liked the guy...such a abrasive moron

9 ( +9 / -0 )

He and his crony's have failed to create a national environment in which people are confident to have children. Theses old gits are running the country into the ground and the young citizens have little confidence that they'll be able to afford to raise, educate, and feed their children.

Who's to blame? Get yourself a mirror old man.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Pinocchio's nose grew longer the more he lied. Aso's mouth gets more bent the more cr*p he spews out.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

What taj said...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

according to Aso's plans people should have dozens of children and elders should die faster.

Churn out Tax paying 20-60y as much as possible.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

 He must have the backing of those who agree with what he says.

He sure does. Tbf, many parents don't particularly like nor understand those of us who've chosen not to have children (we're selfish, irresponsible, unproductive, we don't contribute as much etc). Childless taxpayers are good for one thing and one thing only: pay for others' kids education, healthcare etc.

That's why blokes like Aso know they can intentionally take a jab at childless ppl, 'retract' - sort of - & get away with it. Let's not pretend Aso's the only dinosaur.

Plenty of hypocrites on this thread lol.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The problem is those politicians like Aso who do not live up to their responsibility to make Japan's social, political, and economic environment better for having children. The money and resources exist; only the right policies and positive cultural change are needed.

Unfortunately, bashing Also won't work - he's untouchable. He's the heir of the Aso dynasty, he's descended from both Toshimichi Okubo and Shigeru Yoshida, and a sister of his married a cousin of Emperor Akihito. And if that's not enough, he heads one of the largest factions in the LDP, and he is a former prime minister. See: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/01/22/reference/the-blunt-blue-blooded-aso-is-back/#.XFjl9C17FBw

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Remember walking past this incredible looking dude with a sky blue suit and an outlandish matching hat, surrounded by what looked like bodyguards about to board a Shinkansen at Tokyo station once. The swagger was impossible not to notice . Thought I’d seen my first real yak oyabun, but then as he walked past realized it was the man Asosan himself! He was pure gangster, straight out of the of the roaring 40s. Couldn’t believe my luck. Will never forget it. A true representative of the people! Hehe

12 ( +13 / -1 )

A great example of longevity not being a benifiting trait. The finance minister is angry because his pool of tax payers is shrinking. And those who have subsidies him are now draining his pool of money, they should die. Thou he was told decades ago this would happen. He was PM for a time, and did nothing to make any change. He last brush with education was 50 years ago and with his connections, family history, he passed the day he turned up. At 78 and still needing to work, that shows a lack of imagination or for thought. From a tax payer funded family on the lucrative political payroll, remember he gets paid more in a month than 60% of the working population earns in a year. It's so wrong on so many levels but just doesn't register with the voting public.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The very personification of all that is wrong in Japan's political system.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

An entire generation is having fewer children than they would like because they are being squeezed economically by Abe and Taro's generation.

Secure, full-time jobs? A stable currency that doesn't lose value? Low taxes?

The LDP is depriving us of all of those.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Is he TRYING to say that the current "swelling" costs of these programs are unsustainable without a source of tax revenue in the future and having less and less children as a society contribute to that future unsustainablity? Cause, you know, he'd be correct by saying that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He is finance minister and deputy prime minister, but doesn't understand that the main reason people are not having babies is because of the flailing economy and the doubt over their economic future in Japan. He should not be in that position.

Why are Japanese politicians all so old? He is 78 and should be out in the pasture with all the other old bulls and their poop!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The older, the funnier!

Deputy Prime without basic knowledge.

Blaming others for what he can'T achieve.

Now that's an easy way to keep the cushy seat.

Retire and "get out of here"!!!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How can young men and women have hope in today's Japan and give birth?

Rich elderly not understanding the challenges of today's youngs.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

in a seminar held in his constituency in the southwestern prefecture of Fukuoka.

Let's face it, he's there in front of a room of supporters, mostly old people, and he's told them their pensions are meagre or they have to pay more for healthcare, or something like that because selfish women wouldn't have kids. Given the audience, it'll probably go down well.

Last year, he's somewhere else and people are asking about childcare or something, so he says, you know, there's no money because of them old people blocking up beds in hospitals and costing the health service a fortune. I wish they'd all just die.

If anyone there has a brain in gear, he just says, oh I'm sorry if you misunderstood me. I find it amazing that Japanese do not use the expression "passive aggressive" because they love to use such tactics. They have expressions for the different techniques, here maybe "higai mousou" (victimization), but no "passive aggressive" type collective noun for them all.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Govt. must invest behind Children to increase number of birth.

If the total responsibility goes to the parents then parents has firm right to decide.

Who agreed to have child to generate revenue only for Govt.?

At-least 22 years required to prepare a kids to young.

It's not a joke, parents spend all of their effort for kids.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You can't complain when your the one voting these people in.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Realization

At-least 22 years required to prepare a kids to young.

22 is too young.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Must be nice to be rich and able to afford children and there be enough schools and daycares.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Realization - Govt. must invest behind Children to increase number of birth.

If the total responsibility goes to the parents then parents has firm right to decide.

Who agreed to have child to generate revenue only for Govt.?

At-least 22 years required to prepare a kids to young.

It's not a joke, parents spend all of their effort for kids.

Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Most middle-class Japanese are already paying upwards of 35-40% of their salaries in taxes, health insurance and pension. If the government were to invest in children it would mean even greater taxing for the masses. The 'soon-to-be' 10% sales tax is earmarked for childcare, but, the first 3% increase was also earmarked for the same purpose as well as paying off the public debt. And, don't forget the so-called 'free' public high school education costs middle-class families ¥300-500,000 per year, another 7-10% of their salaries. You add all these together and middle-class people are paying 60%+ of their salaries in taxes, health insurance, pension and public education. This is why people are not having children! Joining Japan Inc. and contributing 60% of your salary does not appeal to anyone.

Aso and his cronies have totally missed the bus on how to repair Japan's economy. They are more focussed on international trade and exports in markets that no longer belong to Japan. They have their heads stuck in the 80's when Japan controlled many international markets, which should be no surprise considering the age of all these old cronies. Japan's economy needs to be fixed internally not externally. The domestic markets need to have all this BS price fixing crap removed to make domestic products cheaper and import taxes need to be increased. A good example is food. At present, Japan imports around 70% of its foods, which basically means, 70% of the money spent on food leaves Japan. Then, on the other side of the coin, you have the Japanese government subsidising farmers and paying them not to produce to keep the prices of domestic goods high. You don't have to be an economist to understand this is just totally daft and destined to failure!

5 ( +9 / -4 )

That's not a bell you can unring...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This man is just beyond idiotic. There are many reasons why people may not have children, not least because they choose not to. There is absolutely no obligation whatsoever to have children if you don't want them, and no need to justify or explain anything. Besides that, there are people who would like to have children but can't for medical reasons, or financial reasons, or because they have not found the right partner etc. More could be done in Japan to encourage adoption of non-related babies and children, which would relieve some cases, but that is a different topic. One has to wonder if the unspoken part of Aso's asinine comment is that if more Japanese people had children, or had had children, there would be less of a need to look overseas for augmentation of the workforce.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

born with a silver foot in his mouth.

Best description I've read!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Dear Japan,

Give me my husband back from work at least 2-3 hours a day and maybe you'll get another baby from us.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

"Why are Japanese politicians all so old? He is 78"

and

"The older, the funnier!"

and

Why is this dinosaurs still working at 78?! 

and many many more......

Gotta love the ageism of the comments.

and the hate comments...

too too sad.

I wonder how you would feel if someone said the same thing about your grandfather or grandmother.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

@alwaysspeakingwisdom

I wonder how you would feel if someone said the same thing about your grandfather or grandmother.

I love my grandparents to death but there's absolutely no way I would trust them to run a country. My Grandmother is only 69 and she can barely work a cell phone. Sorry. Certain professions require sharp, youthful minds if not bodies and someone pushing 80 is unlikely to have either.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

Mark Twain

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Alwayspeakingwisdom@ ageism??. Stating an old self serving out of touch geeza with foot in mouth disease needs to be out to pasture is far from ageism, it’s just common sense mate. Not one of the professionally offended are we? Ever considered a name change?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I do hope one of the useless opposition MPs asks Abe what he thinks about Aso's and Nikai's remarks on those who don't have children. Does Abe agree with his colleagues that such people are selfish and a problem?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

When grilled by an opposition lawmaker during a lower house committee session Monday, who criticized Aso's insensitivity to the feelings of people who want to have children but cannot, the heavyweight said, "I'll retract the remark if it's caused any misunderstanding."

Aso was not talking about people who want to have children but cannot.

He was talking about people who don't want to have children, even though they can.

Aso could have put his words more carefully, but he does raise a good point. The declining birthrate in Japan (and, though he didn't address them, in other countries) is truly having negative effects.

And the birthrate decline (with its ensuing negative effects) is not being driven largely by people who want to have kids but cannot. It's overwhelmingly due to the choice to be childless.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Time to be put out to pasture Aso san.

We do not want nor need you kind here in Fukuoka any longer. You are starting to lose it buddy!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

At 78, its about time someone was put out to pasture, give the man a golden set of fluffy slippers, a rocking chair.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Brian Wheway.

Yes, for most def. I bet he has those golden slippers in his house here in Izuka.

This guy once said in 2001, as Economics Minister,

"he wanted to make Japan a country where "rich Jews" would like to live."

But my all time favroite was this blunder.

While speaking at a meeting of the National Council on Social Security Reform, in 2013, Asō referred to patients suffering from serious illness as "tube persons" and remarked that they should be "allowed to die quickly" if they desired it. "Heaven forbid I should be kept alive if I want to die", he is quoted as saying. "You cannot sleep well when you think it's all paid by the government. This won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die."

He really said that. "Hurry up and die." Mr. Golden slippers. Evil little man.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Aso, a living national anachronism, and an embarrassment to the nation. One hopes...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/05/japans-deputy-pm-blames-women-for-nations-falling-population

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Is there ever a time when his foot isn't firmly planted in his mouth?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

While Mr. Aso's mantra of 'Do it for Japan' might not resonate with many, I would say that 'Do it for yourselves' might be a better way to look at it.

Sure, as some have correctly pointed out here, childbearing and raising in the present stagnant economy is financially very challenging. But I would say that the sacrifices pay off heaps in the long run.

We'll have children to care for us when we're old. They can help us with errands, jobs around the house, medical trips, etc, etc.

We can enjoy thier company and a happy family life.

We can enjoy our grandchildren.

Having several kids creates a family support system when they are adults that can be financially and emotionally very helpful.

There are lots more benefits of course. Thankfully I personally enjoy all these with my many siblings and my own bunch of kids.

Regardless of what Mr. Aso says, I reckon these things are worth considering regarding the choice to have children.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The problem is those who don't have children.

does not seem correct translation.

He rather told, "The problem is that people have not had (enough) children."

In Japanese, what he told was "Kodomo wo umanakatta hou ga mondai nanda kara".

KYODO tranlated "hou" as "people", then whole as "People who have not had children are problematic."

This translation is valid only when one ignores context.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

First he blames old people being alive for the pension problem and that if they all died the problem would also cease to exist (until suggested he heed his own advice), now he's going the other route and saying it's young people who don't have kids. He's always talked more out of his butt than the one side of his mouth, though.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The problem he has is that he is just not a logical thinker. His brain operates by finding commonalities and making jokingly or condecending broad statements while seeking support from similarly poor-minded people.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How long until we see the back of this fossil, tomorrow is too late.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Concerned CitizenFeb. 5 08:09 am JST

While Mr. Aso lacks diplomacy, his point is actually correct.

No it is not. The problem is the circumstances created by his party and their cronies that make it so difficult for people to consider having children.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The true is having children is a blessing but if you can't have one no problem.

There are some people who don't want to have children at all because of the responsibility and working for money has taking over their life.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Concerned CitizenFeb. 5 07:25 pm JST

Sure, as some have correctly pointed out here, childbearing and raising in the present stagnant economy is financially very challenging. But I would say that the sacrifices pay off heaps in the long run.

We'll have children to care for us when we're old. They can help us with errands, jobs around the house, medical trips, etc, etc.

We can enjoy thier company and a happy family life.

We can enjoy our grandchildren.

That's nice. So what are the benefits for the children?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

He and his crony's have failed to create a national environment in which people are confident to have children. Theses old gits are running the country into the ground and the young citizens have little confidence that they'll be able to afford to raise, educate, and feed their children.

The Japanese fertility rate bottomed in 2005 and has been generally upward since then. In contrast, the US fertility rate is declining

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2018/10/19/us-fertility-rates-collapse-finger-pointing-blame-follow/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f6b1f35e9c4b

as is that of the Nordic countries.

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/babies-wanted-nordic-countries-struggle-with-falling-birth-rates

Norway which has been presented in Japan as the best country in the world to raise children has seen the fertility rate decline for seven straight years.

As for old gits running a country, the USA is a better example of this than Japan. Donald Trump is 72. Abe Shinzo is 64. Nancy Pelosi is 78, the same age as Aso. More important, Japan is really run by the bureaucrats and they generally retire at 60 or earlier.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I'm pretty sure that PM Abe does not appreciate this remark. Abe and his wife Akie have never had children.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The ruling class's disdain for anyone outside of their little cloistered cocktail circuit is truly unsettling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bullfighterFeb. 6 02:52 pm JST

As for old gits running a country, the USA is a better example of this than Japan. Donald Trump is 72. Abe Shinzo is 64. Nancy Pelosi is 78, the same age as Aso. More important, Japan is really run by the bureaucrats and they generally retire at 60 or earlier.

Yet the bureaucrats seem very keen to dance to Abe's tune and do all kinds of things that appear to benefit him or his cronies, e.g. Kotaro Kake or Yasunori Kagoike.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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