Yutaro Tanaka, a member of the local Liberal Democratic Party chapter in Tokyo, criticized a group of mothers who were protesting the lack of day care centers outside the Tokyo earlier in February in his blog, drawing hundreds of angry comments from outraged citizens. The assemblyman wrote that mothers should remember that the responsibility of raising children lies first with each household before making “shameless” demands for more nursery schools.
The entry was made on Feb. 21 in his blog, and this drew the ire of online citizens. Tanaka, 37, said in his post that while “woman power” is necessary to revitalize the economy, he thought that the mothers “had no touch of reserve nor shame.” “What I am saying is don’t force your child-rearing on society from the start. . . . (The mothers) should have the manners enough to say ‘Please help us raise our children,’ ” Tanaka added on his blog, adding that he was not married and had no kids.
A multitude of angry comments flooded the blog, with people expressing sentiments like not wanting to raise their children in a district with a representative like Tanaka and that it is because of people like him that Japan has a low birthrate. Tanaka was not available for comment.
Japan’s health ministry data shows that 24,825 kids nationwide were denied day care in 2012. Tokyo led all areas by far with 7,257 such cases. The ministry has set up a special fund, currently at ¥550 billion, to ease the problem. A few days after the mothers protested over the 1,505 rejections last week, Suginami Mayor Ryo Tanaka announced emergency measures to help the children who were denied day care. These measures included raising the capacity in some nurseries and increasing and expanding the number of public and non-certified facilities. “I think the mothers were placed in a situation where they felt they had no choice but to raise their voices to be heard,” a Suginami official said. “We must earnestly listen to the urgent concern raised by these mothers, who need to go back to work and also raise children.”