Shinzo Abe said it, did his peers hear?

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

IT’S got nothing to do with President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war. Or the South China Sea disputes between China and the Philippines or Vietnam. Or the North Korean nuclear threat against Japan and the United States. But it is not less important than any of these hot-button issues. And except for one small Filipino tabloid that reported it, no media establishment seemed to have noticed it during the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and other related summits. But experts believe it has huge and irreversible civilizational consequences.

I am talking of what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly told the Asean leaders during the Asean-Japan summit. Abe’s message was urgent, his tone nearly desperate. It was a cry for help. Learn from Japan’s mistake, he said, do not repeat its costly and ruinous demographic policies. What not even the atom-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could destroy, the wrong population policies adopted by the Japanese government in its quest for prosperity could, and most certainly will.

From a robust world economy, which some American academics used to describe as “Number One” before China began its phenomenal rise, and growing at an average of 4 to 5 percent a year, with a $100 billion trade surplus with the United States, Japan has entered a period of economic decline, which could well prove irreversible. Its economic growth has not only stalled but shrunk, largely because of its ageing and shrinking work force and population.

This was a result of the population control program imposed by Gen. Douglas MacArthur on Japan, after its defeat in World War 2. Analysts think the purpose was more political than economic—Japan must be prevented from regaining the power to wage another war.


The oldest people
Now Japan has the world’s highest percentage of old people, on top a growing list that includes Italy, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, and the British Channel Islands. Demographers estimate that between 2010 and 2015, Japan’s population declined at an annual rate of 0.7 percent, and that from 127.1 million it will shrink to 83 million by 2100, with 35 percent being 65 years old and older.

The middle class, called salarimen, which used to put in a 70-work productive work week, has taken the most severe beating, and with the ageing and shrinking of the work force, the manufacturing sector must now turn to robots rather than to migrant workers, since Japan does not encourage the entry of foreign workers.

Abe is not the first world leader to make this distressed call.

Singapore’s call
Some years before he died, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of Singapore, called on the young people of his city state to start reproducing if they did not want their progressive society to shut down. Lee had earlier tried to limit the birth rate of Singaporeans to two children per couple but tried to revise it when he realized his error.

By then, the young Singaporeans had gotten used to their new lifestyle, and no matter what the government did to encourage singles to marry and beget children, there were simply not enough takers. But because of the attractive employment terms, living conditions, health benefits and educational and professional opportunities in the city state, so many young people, including some of the brightest Filipinos, are coming to Singapore.

I am sure Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was only too happy to support Abe’s position.

Russia’s experience
Another leader who shares Abe’s position is Russian President Vladimir Putin, represented at the East Asia summit by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Russia is experiencing the same demographic winter. Since the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, there has been a sharp drop in Russian births as the social system that used to provide employment, housing and health care for almost every Russian citizen disappeared.

In 1920, Russia became the first country in the world to allow abortion in all circumstances; but Stalin banned it in 1936 because of his concern for Russia’s population growth. It was reinstated after Stalin died in 1953, and in 1991, when the Soviet Union signed off, Russia had an all-time record of 3.6 million abortions in one year.

Since then Russia started losing nearly three quarters of a million of its population every year; Ukraine by a quarter of a million. In the first 10 years of the Federation, the population declined by 3 million. Russian demographers have estimated that, if the trend continues, Russia’s population would shrink from 143 million in 2005 to 112 million in 2050.

Putin’s pro-family campaign
Putin is said to have once complained that Russia, once a great power, could never reclaim its former status because it no longer had the population. In 2003, he warned the Russian Parliament that the lack of babies being born to Russian families constituted a “serious crisis threatening Russia’s survival.”

He then launched a vigorous campaign to encourage more births. These included a $9,000 subsidy upon the birth of a second child, and additional cash and child care subsidies for additional children. The government worked with women and pro-family groups to promote not only healthy families but large families above all. This has become a popular mantra among many important Russian Orthodox churchmen, high government officials and ordinary Russian citizens. I have met some of them.

In 2011, I joined the Demographic Summit in Moscow in calling for an end to population control programs being funded by foreign governments, international institutions and non-governmental organizations. Together with a distinguished American pro-life colleague, I later helped inaugurate the Russian Parents Association, whose primary objective was to promote healthy and large families throughout the Russian Federation. In 2014, I spoke before a large Orhtodox assembly at the Kremlin on the role of “large families” as a key to the future.

The campaign for strong families provides an antithesis to the LGBT lobby which promotes same-sex union everywhere. For the Putin government, as for many others, same-sex union is the ultimate weapon against population, since it seeks to abolish motherhood, fatherhood, and all childbearing. Medvedev had no opportunity to listen to Abe’s dialogue with the Asean heads, but I have no doubt he would have confirmed Abe’s position.

Trump and Tusk
Donald Trump and European Council President Donald Tusk were not within earshot when Abe spoke to the Asean leaders. But the latter’s message could not have been less useful for them. As most of Europe is now hopelessly anti-life, anti-family, and same-sex inclined, Tusk would have gained much from seeing the leader of a great industrial power rethink his demographic options. But for the accident of geography and history, many European countries could have found themselves in Japan’s position.

In Trump’s case, he would have welcomed hearing Abe support his own battles at home, at the UN and in international circles. For the issues of human life, family, marriage and population have become Trump’s most important battles. A big part of America has no love lost for Henry Kissinger’s National Security Study Memorandum 200, which provides the blueprint for US program for global population control, or the US Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, or on Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex union.

Trump’s decision to reinstate Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy, which prohibits the use of US funds to support abortion in developing countries, has drawn him much closer to the average American family man, after the last anti-family years of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And he has managed to put up a good fight against all the enemies of human life, the family and marriage since then.

‘RH’ deleted
In this month’s G7 meeting in Italy, C-Fam reports, Trump’s surrogates insisted that the term “reproductive health” be qualified with explicit anti-abortion language if it was to become part of a document on global health priorities and climate change. Health ministers from the other countries found the US position “extreme,” but because the US refused to budge, Canada and the EU ultimately had to move that the entire term be deleted instead.

This was quite a setback to the apostles of “reproductive health,” including their epigones in the Philippines, who had succeeded in passing an RH law, which mandates the state to supply contraceptives to the public, despite the clear provision of the Constitution, which makes the state the primary protector of conception and therefore bars it from being the primary supplier of contraception.

The Supreme Court has declared the unconstitutional law “not unconstitutional,” but in a commendable show of lucidity has barred the distribution of abortifacients, disguised as contraceptives, as against the law. After many months of resisting the anti-life forces, the court is reported to have lifted the temporary restraining order on these prohibited items, prompting reports that the government would now purchase more contraceptives.

Worse than the drug war
If DU30 had listened to Abe at the Asean-Japan summit, he would have seen that population control, or the war against population through contraception, sterilization and abortion, is perhaps more dangerous than his own murderous drug war. For here, the victim does not have to be suspected of being a user or pusher of any illegal substance in order to be excluded from the world of the living; it is enough for a fetus or a fertilized ovum to be seen as having the potency of being.

In the infamous drug war, thousands of suspects have been killed because they had allegedly tried to resist arrest and fight back (“nanlaban”). In the war against the unborn, the totally innocent and helpless victims are physically eliminated solely because they tried to join the human race without the prior consent of those who think they have an exclusive franchise on human life and the absolute power to decide who are “wanted” and who are not.

fstatad@gmail.com

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