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The AP Interview: Japan minister says women 'underestimated'

The AP Interview: Japan minister says women 'underestimated'

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's minister for gender equality accompanied by every one one other accompanied by children's issues called the country's record low births accompanied by every one one other accompanied by plunging inhabitants a national crisis accompanied by every one one other accompanied by blamed "indifference accompanied by every one one other accompanied by ignorance" inside the male-dominated Japanese parliament for the neglect.

In a wide-ranging gathering accompanied by The Associated Press, Seiko Noda couched the steadily dwindling number of children born inside Japan while an existential threat, saying the nation won't have sufficient troops, police or firefighters inside coming decades if it continues. The number of newborns last year was a record low 810,000, down from 2.7 million fair following the extremity of World War II, she said.

"People speak that children are a national treasure. ... They speak that women are important for gender equality. But they are fair talking," Noda, 61, told the AP inside a Cabinet office inside downtown Tokyo's management complex. "The management of Japan will not go unless (the problems of children accompanied by every one one other accompanied by women) are made visible."

She said there are a variety of reasons for the low birthrate, persistent gender bias accompanied by every one one other accompanied by inhabitants decline inside Japan, "but actuality inside the parliament, I mostly exist inside be in touch that there is indifference accompanied by every one one other accompanied by ignorance."

Japan is the world's third biggest economy, a strong democracy accompanied by every one one other accompanied by a greatest U.S. ally, nevertheless the management has struggled to build society additional inclusive for children, women accompanied by every one one other accompanied by minorities. There are deep concerns, both within Japan accompanied by every one one other accompanied by abroad, concerning how Japan will reverse what critics call a deep-seated history of male chauvinism that has contributed to the low birthrate.

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The gap inside the centre of men accompanied by every one one other accompanied by women inside Japan is one of the world's worst. It ranked 116th inside a 146-nation look at by the World Economic Forum for 2022, which measured forward movement inside the way of equality based on monetary accompanied by every one one other accompanied by political participation, while well while education, health accompanied by every one one other accompanied by other opportunities for women.

"Japan has fallen behind since other countries have been changing faster," said Chizuko Ueno, a University of Tokyo professor of feminist studies, referring to Japan's gender gap. "Past governments have neglected the problem."

Because of outdated communal accompanied by every one one other accompanied by legal systems surrounding family issues, younger generations are increasingly reluctant to obtain married accompanied by every one one other accompanied by have children, contributing to the low birthrate accompanied by every one one other accompanied by shrinking population, said Noda. She has served inside parliament since 1993 accompanied by every one one other accompanied by expressed her ambition to exist Japan's earliest feminine main minister.

Noda criticized a rules with every one other accompanied by regulations requiring married couples to choose one family name — 90% of the hour dated it is the women who alter their surnames — saying it's the only such legislation inside the world.

"In Japan, women are underestimated inside numerous ways," said Noda, who is one of only place of set of two women inside the 20-member Cabinet. "I fair want women to exist on identical footing accompanied by men. But we are not there yet, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the further advancement of women still has to wait."

The additional strong foot house of Japan's two-chamber parliament is additional than 90% "people who do not menstruate, do not obtain expecting a infant accompanied by every one one other accompanied by cannot breastfeed," Noda said.

The lack of feminine portrayal is regularly referred to while "democracy lacking women."

A quota system could assist grow the number of feminine candidates for political office, Noda said, nevertheless male lawmakers have criticized her proposal, saying women should exist judged by their abilities.

"That made me exist convinced by that there are men who lack the ability" to exist candidates, she said. But all over the candidate selection process, "men tin fair exist men, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by I guess, for them, fair actuality male tin exist considered their ability."

Noda graduated from Sophia University inside Tokyo accompanied by every one one other accompanied by worked at the prestigious Imperial Hotel inside Tokyo earlier to she entered politics, succeeding her grandfather, who was a parliamentarian inside Gifu prefecture.

Noda had her earliest child, who is disabled, at number of years 50 following fertility treatments. She supports same-sex matrimony accompanied by every one one other accompanied by acceptance of reproductive diversity.

Noda, who has numerous tolerant supporters, called herself "an endangered species" inside her conservative Liberal Democratic Party, which has governed Japan accompanied by little cutting inside since the extremity of the war.

She said she is regularly "bashed" by conservatives inside the party, nevertheless excessively by women's rights activists, who don't see her while an authentic feminist.

Still, lacking the assist of strong male lawmakers inside the communal gathering she could not have go nearer this far, Chiyako Sato, a Mainichi paper casual place inside set in print editorial writer, said inside her recent article.

Comparing Noda accompanied by every one one other accompanied by her ultra-conservative accompanied by every one one other accompanied by hawkish feminine competitor Sanae Takaichi who both ran unsuccessfully inside the September communal gathering leadership race, Sato said inside malice of their different political views, they are similar "perhaps they had no indeed indeed other way nevertheless go nearer earliest inside strong male lawmakers' backing to go forward inside the Liberal Democratic Party at a hour dated women are not considered filled fledged humans."

Japan's Self Defense Force, she said, has had problems getting sufficient troops since of the shrinking younger population. She said there's excessively not sufficient watching paid to what the dwindling numbers will signify for police accompanied by every one one other accompanied by firefighters, who exist contingent on on young recruits.

To try to address the problems, she has created a new management agency dedicated to children place to exist launched following year.

Younger male politicians inside recent years have become additional not shut to gender equality, a reflection, inside part, of the growing number of children who are actuality raised by employed parents, Noda said.

But numerous male lawmakers, she said, exist convinced by that issues around families, gender accompanied by every one one other accompanied by inhabitants don't exist concerning them, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by are reluctant to obtain involved.

"The policies have been made while if there were no indeed indeed women or children," she said.

The AP Interview: Japan minister says women 'underestimated'

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