The Japanese cabinet is tussling with the issue of the country’s falling birth rate. The tackle involved a reshuffle in the government by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Kishida appointed Masanobu Ogura, whose method of understanding the issue better is trying out a pregnancy belly. The issue of the declining birth rate is becoming increasingly challenging for the Japanese economy. As a result, Kishida, on Wednesday, announced the appointment of former Bank of Japan official, Masanobu Ogura, reported Bloomberg. Ogura replaced Seiko Noda, a veteran of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). In an interview with Associated Press, Noda, who is a mother of one, blamed the male-dominated political space in the country for the “ignorance and indifference” shown towards the issue of the declining birth rate.
Replacing Noda, Japan’s PM Kishida has now appointed Ogura who will be heading the team responsible for tackling the pressing issue. In a project organised by the youth division of the LDP, Ogura carries a pregnancy belly, weighing 7.3 kilograms, while going on with their daily routines.
— 小倉まさのぶ（衆議院議員） (@masanobu_ogura) April 8, 2021
According to Ogura, who is married, the initiative will help the officials understand the burden the female body goes through while carrying a child. The pregnancy belly is designed to stimulate the weight gain experienced by women at the seven-month of pregnancy.
Elaborating on his experience of carrying 7.3 kilograms of weight every day, Ogura mentioned he experienced back pain and also found himself worrying about unintended bumps from people in a crowded place. “This does not mean I have a more meaningful opinion about policy than other people. But I certainly now feel I want to dedicate more of my limited time as a lawmaker to supporting pregnant women,” he wrote.
— 小倉まさのぶ（衆議院議員） (@masanobu_ogura) April 9, 2021
Appointing Ogura, PM Kishida, during a press conference said that he is aiming toward a young and fresh perspective to address the issue of population decline. As per a Reuters report, 2021 marked the lowest number of births in Japan in over a century. The country recorded only 8,11,604 births and 14,39,809 deaths, resulting in a natural population decline of 6,28,205.