- During a panel discussion in Kagoshima City on 26 June 2003, former Prime
Minister Yoshiro Mori reportedly said that "in the true sense of welfare,
the state shows appreciation to women who bore many children" and that "it
is really strange for people to say that women who enjoy a liberated life, not
having any children, and later grow old should get help through taxpayer money."
- The Basic Law for Men-Women Equally Participated Society, which aims at realising
a society as the highest public priority for the 21st century, holds up its principle
that human rights for both men and women be respected. Supporting women’s
health care is a priority of the basic plan for equal participation of men and
women which was formulated on the basis of the Law. The plan clearly states that
it should be a choice of women themselves whether to have a child or not. Mori’s
remarks are quite emphatic in denying the principle.
- Assessing women based on their fertility is totally in contradiction to the
basic human rights, suggesting that a woman is just an instrument to have a baby.
Furthermore, his remarks trample down a principle of social security and welfare
that all people be provided necessary assistance impartially and fairly. Mori,
as a lawmaker, should not be forgiven for his offensive language.
- At the gathering, another Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, Seiichi Ota,
also made offensive remarks relating to the arrest of Waseda University’s
student for allegedly gang raping a 20-year-old female student after a party.
He reportedly said, "Those who gang rape are better off because they have
virility. They are closer to normal." A rape is a disgraceful offence trampling
down human rights and personality of women. Remarks defending and even encouraging
such an offence should not be forgiven by apology.
- These repeated remarks ignoring human rights and insulting women are in contradiction
to a basic idea of the Equal Participation Law and therefore should not go unheeded.
Rengo will work harder to promote a social and work environment where women are
free to have and bring up children. Rengo will also make every effort to promote
the enactment of a bylaw for equal participation by every local government.