Japan minister blames 'childless women' for social security costs

Updated: Feb 06, 2019, 12:48 IST | Agencies | Tokyo

The comment was nearly the same as one he made in 2014 that also drew criticism

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso
Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso has reluctantly apologised for saying childless people are to blame for the country's rising social security costs and its aging and declining population.

"If it made some people feel uncomfortable, I apologise," Aso said Tuesday after drawing complaints over a comment he made during the weekend at a seminar in Fukuoka, his constituency in south-western Japan.

Aso, a 78-year-old former prime minister, is among conservative lawmakers in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government who have at times blamed the elderly or childless for long-term demographic trends.

"There are lots of strange people who say the elderly people are to blame, but that is wrong. The problem is those who don't have children," he told the audience. The comment was nearly the same as one he made in 2014 that also drew criticism. According to the government statistics, the number of births in 2018 fell to 9,21,000, the lowest since Japan began recording statistics in 1899. Total population showed a record decline, to 126 million.

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