January 30, 2007
Appointed Official Offends

“The number of women aged between 15 and 50 is fixed,” Japan’s Health Minister, Hakuo Yanagisawa (71) said in a speech to LDP party members earlier this week. “Because the number of birth-giving machines and devices is fixed, all we can do is ask them to do their best per head … although it may not be so appropriate to call them machines.”

Did Yanagisawa think he was being clever? Did he believe that calling women birth-giving machines was going to encourage them to reproduce? His government profile says he is married, but mentions no children. He ought have consulted with Mrs. Yanagisawa before giving that speech.

Prime Minister Abe chastised him and told him to “be more careful” in the future. I think someone with such a disregard for women really ought not be Minister of Health and Labor at all. Mr. Prime Minister, if you really want the birth rate to increase, chuck out Yanagisawa, and bring in someone who won’t offend the birth-giving machines.


Posted by kuri at January 30, 2007 09:54 AM


Perhaps he should experience labor and then see if he feels so comfortable with his choice of words.

Posted by: Jenn on January 30, 2007 11:16 AM


Posted by: j-ster on January 30, 2007 06:20 PM

Maybe the health minister should look to Scandinavia to learn about how to make it easier for women to combine career and having children?
I have written about it in Asia Observer’s blog at http://www.asiaobserver.com/blog/

Asia Observer

Posted by: John on January 31, 2007 07:56 AM

Just another example why 71-year old men should not be allowed to make any important decisions. This dinosaur is responsible for coordinating the Japanese Health Ministry?

Posted by: Thomas on February 1, 2007 02:24 AM

I’d be interested in the original speech he made…is it online? I agree…what a strange way to describe women giving birth to children. Women are not “machines” but beautiful life-giving creations.

Posted by: Karla on February 10, 2007 06:06 PM
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