Hakuo Yanagisawa, the Health minister of Japan came in for a lot of criticism this week when he used the phrase' birth-giving machines' in the context of describing women.
The minister was airing his views on his country's declining birth rate at a local political meeting last Saturday, when the gaffe occurred.
Quoting the minister: "The number of women aged between 15 and 50 is fixed. Because the number of birth-giving machines and devices is fixed, all we can ask for is for them to do their best per head.
"Although it may not be so appropriate to call them machines."
The minister's statements have sparked agitation nationwide.
Japanese population counts are on a downward slide.
This has been fodder for political discussions as a government survey has predicted that the population would be cut down by a third in 40 years time, at the present birth rate.