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Japanese imperial baby, sex selection, disability

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Japan's new imperial baby was named Hisahito (BBC). The Japanese emperor must be male according to the Imperial Law, hence, many people have been waiting for the birth of a male baby in the imperial family. Personally, I don't understand why the emperor must be male, and it is clear that there are many people who think like me, but such discussion has disappeared from the mass media since last week.

In many Asian countries, such as China, Korea, and India, sex selection of children is accepted by ordinary people, and as a result, the number of male babies considerably exceeds that of female babies in those countries because parents usually prefer boys. Among those countries, Japan is an exception. In Japan, sex selection is strictly prohibited. Then, the question arises whether the majority of Japanese people prefer male babies just like our neighbour countries.

A research shows that there is no such preference among Japanese people as a whole. However, I have the impression that in recent years many people have hoped for a boy to be born in the imperial family. A conservative scholar insisted that the emperor must be a man because the important essence of an emperor has transmitted from a male emperor to his son, from generation to generation, inscribed on their Y chromosomes. (I think this is nonsense.)

Then, how do the imperial family think about it? The Asahi Shimbun Newspaper reported the press conference held on the day of the birth of the baby. Two doctors attended the conference. The following are the translation of the most interesting part of their remarks:

-- Asahi Shimbun: "Didn't Their Majesties know about the baby's sex?"

-- A doctor: "Their Majesties have talked to us that they don't want to know about the sex of the baby, information about whether the baby has a disability, and other things. ....."

-- The other doctor: "Their Majesties not only didn't want to know about them, but also strongly wished to welcome whatever baby they might have because it is their own baby. They said that they wanted to accept in a natural way, and asked us not to intervene in the birth process. These were truly impressive words."

If this is a true story, this shows that the imperial couple was against sex selection, prenatal screening and selective abortion. And this is good news to disabled people who have fought against prenatal screening and selective abortion. By the way, Japanese left-wing activists have objected to both the imperial system and selective abortion. How do they think about the above words uttered by the imperial couple? I am probably a left-wing thinker, but I want to support their words.

Photo: Albany, NY, USA

   -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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