There is great controversy over remarks on parental leave issues by Shinjiro Koizumi, 38, a member of the House of Representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party, who is known as the second son of former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, 77. Some expect that one of the most promising Japanese politicians can raise public awareness of low fertility by mentioning the issue in a country where parental leave is a rarity. By contrast, others point out that the government should first make a working environment conducive to parental leave.
LDP lawmaker Koizumi has become famous for his resemblance to his father and outrageous remarks since he entered the political realm in 2009. Some even speculate that he will run for prime minister, considering that the young politician has already won four terms. Last month, he made a surprise announcement to marry famous TV announcer Christel Takigawa, 41, three years older than he is. Back then, he said that he is willing to take parental leave when their baby is born earlier next year.
The Mainichi Daily News reported that Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Kenta Izumi reacted negatively to Koizumi’s remarks in a press conference on Monday. He denounced Koizumi as one of those born with a silver spoon in their mouth, saying that lawmakers can get fully paid even when they are on leave. Rep. Izumi also pointed out that ordinary people cannot afford to take parental leave because they get paid less on leave under the current system. He cynically criticized that Koizumi may have to say to the Liberal Democratic Party and the Federation of Economic Organization that he would not take parental leave unless every worker receives fully-paid parental leave.