The ordinary Diet (Japan’s parliament) session that began last week was quickly thrown into turmoil after Hakuo Yanagisawa, minister of health, labour and welfare, called women “birth-giving machines”. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues to issue public apologies, yet maintains his position of supporting his Cabinet minister. Meanwhile, the four opposition parties are unanimously demanding that Yanagisawa resign. Yanagisawa’s comment was obviously inappropriate, especially coming from a politician whose portfolio includes devising measures to counter Japan’s low birthrate. Many members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), including Cabinet ministers seem to take a simplistic approach, believing that the low birthrate will improve simply if women return home. However, the current state of Japanese politics does not offer an atmosphere for such deliberations. The LDP’s interests are focused on political expediency.