On Wednesday, Japanese politician Yoshitaka Sakurada was attending a fundraising event held in Chiba City. However, while Yoshitaka, who serves as a member of the House of Representatives, was looking to boost his financial resources, he was also hoping that those in attendance could indirectly boost Japan’s sagging birthrate.
“The number of women who don’t feel a need to get married is rising,” the 69-year-old Sakurada said. “I would like to have you all ask your children, or grandchildren, to have at least three children each.”
The fact that Sakurada himself wasn’t volunteering to boost the birth rate, and was asking even his political supporters to pass the actual child-making/-rearing responsibilities off on others, wasn’t lost on angry social media users in Japan, with Twitter comments including:
“I’d like at least two kids, but I don’t have the money to raise them, so I’m tired of hearing people say things like that.”
“My spouse and I both already work to earn money to care for our aging parents whom we love, so even just being asked to have at least three kids too is exhausting.”
“Shut your mouth, Sakurada.”
“He doesn’t get it at all. It’s not like people aren’t having kids because they don’t want them. He doesn’t understand that in today’s world, it’s incredibly difficult from a financial, psychological, and energy standpoint to raise three kids.”
“Please make a society in which I can have three kids.”
Following the backlash to his baby-making plea, Sakurada offered a clarification on Thursday. “I made my remark as one way of dealing with Japan’s declining birthrate. I deeply desire for people to enjoy the happiness of having children. I wanted to say that it is important for us to create an environment in which it is easier to raise children,” Sakurada told reporters. “I had no intention of forcing parenthood upon others, or of hurting anyone’s feelings.”
Sakurada’s attachment to the larger family sizes of a generation ago perhaps aren’t so surprising. He is, after all, the same guy who felt no apprehension about being in charge of cybersecurity for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics despite, by his own admission, having “never touched a computer.” Still, a little firmer understanding of the lives of today’s young adults might go a long way in helping him form more effective strategies for boosting Japan’s birthrate than recruiting parents and grandparents to nag the country into having more babies.
Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/Sankei Shimbun via Jin, Twitter
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