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‘Hurry up and die’: Japanese minister bemoans cost of prolonged life

Published time: January 22, 2013 08:29
Edited time: January 22, 2013 14:40
Senior couple sitting on park bench, Japan

Senior couple sitting on park bench, Japan

The elderly should be allowed to finish their days without artificially sustaining their lives, says Japan’s finance minister. The social security system is being crippled by support for people over 60, already constituting a third of the nation.

­Well known in Japan for his harsh mode of speech, Deputy PM and the head of the Finance Ministry Taro Aso told at the National Council on Social Security Reforms that the Japanese government pays for the meaningless enforced prolongation of lives of those whose days are numbered.

“Heaven forbid if 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.”

Taro Aso, 72, revealed that he has written instructions left for his relatives that prohibit artificial prolongation of his life when his hour comes.

Taro Aso, appointed as Finance and Deputy Prime Minister (AFP Photo / Kazuhiro Nogi)
Taro Aso, appointed as Finance and Deputy Prime Minister (AFP Photo / Kazuhiro Nogi)

Aso named himself as an example of a person who would not cling to life with the help of medics, keeping the spark of life with meds and a heart and lung device.

“I don’t need that kind of care. I will die quickly,” Aso said.

Vladimir Kremlev for RT
Vladimir Kremlev for RT

The minister has reportedly been referring to “tube people” in terminal condition who cannot feed themselves. The minister gave them advice to “hurry up and die,” reports AFP, instead of burdening the state with prodigal end-of-life medical care.

Almost a third of Japan’s 128 million population are older than 60. Within next half century the number of pensioners will reach 40 per cent of the population.

Though his sharp remark has sparked a scandal, Aso has not resiled from his statement, explaining that this is his personal belief and it does not correlate with “what the end-of-life medical care system should be.”

“It is important that you can spend the final days of your life peacefully,” Taro Aso stressed.

Taro Aso represents an influential industrialist family with proven political ties. Aso’s grandfather Shigeru Yoshida was one of the most influential and respected Prime Ministers in the country’s history, heading the Japanese government that put Japan on the road of revival after the catastrophe of WWII.

A former PM himself, Taro Aso is married to a daughter of another Japanese PM.

Aso has a notorious reputation of being contrary to what is generally understood as being politically correct.

Back in 2001, when Aso occupied the chair of minister of the economy, he tied up the essential prosperity of a country with the desire of “rich Jews” to live in it.