|"There is a baby in my belly"
[ 2006-08-10 08:39 ]
Tokyo rail companies are providing pregnant women with badges in the hope of prompting
other passengers on the Japanese capital's crowded trains to offer them
The pink and blue badges reading: "There is a baby in my belly" are
being handed out at stations around the region to try to make commuting
and other train journeys easier for pregnant women, who are often left
"Especially in the early stages, it is difficult to tell from someone's
appearance whether they are pregnant," said an official at the Health
Ministry which came up with the idea. "But these early stages are rather
unstable and it is important to take care."
The move comes as Japan scrambles
for ways to persuade women to have more babies. The
dwindling birth rate has left the nation with a shrinking population and
the world's highest proportion of elderly people.
"We want to create an environment that is pleasant for pregnant women,"
the agency official said.
The move was welcomed by many.
"When I was three months pregnant and got on the train, no one would
really notice me and I couldn't really ask them to give me a seat," said
Yoshiko Kato, a self-employed 38-year-old who is five months pregnant. "So
these badges, I hope, will help some people to notice I am pregnant," she