You’ve got to hope that this one was "lost in translation"!
Japan’s health minister described women as "birth-giving machines" in a speech on the falling birthrate, drawing criticism despite an immediate apology. "The number of women between the ages of 15 and 50 is fixed. The number of birth-giving machines (and) devices is fixed, so all we can ask is that they do their best per head," Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa said in a speech Saturday, the Asahi and Mainichi newspapers reported.
Birth rates (and dependency ratios) are indeed a serious issue. But perhaps Yanagisawa’s been spending too much time reading Malcolm Galdwell and not enough at charm school!
“Japan’s population of 127 million contracted for the first time on record in 2005, mostly because of a drop in the birthrate, raising the prospect of severe labor shortages and difficulties in paying health bills and pensions for large numbers of elderly.”
Does anybody else think that life is just one big ponzi scheme – bringing in new investors (the young) to pay for old ones (the elderly). Given the growing resource/population gap why would we think a smaller population for the entire globe is bad.