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Lack of 'romantic ability' blamed by assemblyman for Japan's sliding marriage, birth rates

The Mie Prefectural Assembly building is seen in Tsu in this Oct. 29, 2020 file photo. (Mainichi/Ayaka Morita)

TSU -- The reason for Japanese people's increasing reluctance to get married is that their "romantic ability" is declining, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party faction in the Mie Prefectural Assembly stated here on Feb. 24.

    Narise Ishida voiced the theory during a general question and answer session at the assembly, and asked the prefectural government to conduct a survey and analysis of residents' romantic ability.

    "The birthrate is not declining because it costs money to have children," Ishida stated. "The problem is that romance has been seen as a taboo subject before marriage." He proposed that the prefectural government incorporate the idea of romantic ability into its measures against the declining birthrate. Ishida did not state specifically what romantic ability is.

    Akira Yasui, the prefectural government's strategic planning department director, responded, "Since this is related to extremely personal matters, we first need to deepen awareness of what romantic ability is." He added, "In past surveys on prefectural residents' attitudes, some did give answers related to romantic ability, including 'I don't have self-confidence,' and 'I can't get along with the opposite sex,' as reasons for not being married. We will continue to conduct surveys from a broad perspective."

    Some councilors belonging to other assembly factions called the entire discussion "off the mark." Others openly wondered if measuring love as an ability would make it increasingly difficult to live in society.

    (Japanese original by Yuka Asahina, Tsu Bureau)

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