Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Finance Ministry, Taro Aso, has caused controversy in Japan by telling the infirm elderly to “Hurry up and die”.
Known for his outspoken views, Aso said that the infirm elderly are a drain on Japan’s social security system, and should be allowed to end their days naturally without medical intervention.
Japan’s over 60s make up a third of the population, although Aso says he is referring to “tube people” who are being sustained even though they are terminally ill. He told the National Council on Social Security Reform that the enforced prolonging of lives is pointless.
Aso, who is 72 years-old, said “I don’t need that kind of care. I will die quickly,” and said that he had left instructions for his family not to keep him alive artificially.
“Heaven forbid that you are forced to live on when you want to die,” he said. “You cannot sleep well when you think it’s all paid for by the government. It is important that you can spend the final days of your life peacefully”
Aso is known for not following ‘politically correct’ ideals, and in 2001 when he was Minister of the Economy, he said he had a desire for “rich Jews” to live in Japan and contribute to the country’s prosperity.
Although Aso expressed his views on the infirm elderly, he did not propose a solution to his perceived drain on the country’s resources.
No doubt Aso will continue to be a controversial figure until his ‘day’ finally comes.
We wonder how long it will be before governments around the world see keeping the terminally ill alive as an unnecessary expense.