- Conflict & Crisis
By Sarah Dee
January 24, 2013
The Deputy Prime Minister in Japan, who has been in office for less than five days, Taro Aso made a few controversial comments about the care (or cessation of care more accurately) of the elderly in Japan according to this ABC News article.
He referenced the elderly who need help feeding themselves as “tube people” and went so far as to say that the elderly should, “Hurry up and die.”
His reasoning behind this comment? Because their deaths would alleviate the cost it takes to keep them alive which is paid for by the Japanese government.
He later said these comments were misinterpreted, saying he was speaking of his own personal wishes for a timely death not those of all Japanese elderly people.
He went on to say that his will was already in order with his family and that he would not want to linger.
According to the article:
“Even if (doctors) said they could keep me alive, it would be unbearable,” he said. “I would feel guilty, knowing that (treatment) was being paid for by the government.”
This is not the first time Aso has been in the hot seat for his comments on Japan’s aging population.
Five years ago, he said the elderly were a “feeble” group and, “Why should I have to pay taxes for people who just sit around and do nothing but eat and drink?””
He subsequently apologized for these comments publicly. Since Japan has the fastest growing aging population in the world the country’s views on euthanasia and elder-care are going to be coming to the forefront in the years to come.
Politicians have imposed tax hikes to help supplement the strain on the government healthcare system.
Only time will tell how this nation will handle this issue. Is it really the government’s place to decide who lives and who dies? You be the judge.