The Japanese government has now decided to go against its initial plan to distribute handbooks on pregnancy to young women. The one they reckoned most to be the best way to counter the nation’s declining population proved to have been unwelcome by most women’s groups, including the All Japan Obachan Party (AJOP). The handbooks were intended to be distributed in the following fiscal year if approved.
Instead, the proposal was greeted with criticisms. Some think it should not be limited to women, perhaps their polite way of not calling it sexist. “The committee members who made the proposal need to understand the background in which the women’s handbook was criticized so much. I want to continue to keep close tabs on whether irrelevant measures are being proposed again,” said of Mayumi Taniguchi, an associate professor at the Osaka International University and also a leader of AJOP. Dr. Junko Umihara from Showa Women’s University also expressed the importance of the involvement of men in solving Japan’s population problem. “It is important, regardless of gender, to emerge from old-fashioned perceptions that ‘men should earn money and women should do family chores and raise children,’” the doctor said.
Finding pressure from women’s groups, the Japanese government could only yield to the people directly involved in the handbook proposal. “The state must not intervene in people’s choices in life,” Minister of State for the Declining Birthrate Masako Mori said during a conference on Tuesday. The Abe Administration shall now have to figure out another and better answer to its population problem, which they must not delay, lest their people also keep waiting to get married and having children.