Taro Aso stated the elderly should be allowed to “hurry up and die,” at a meeting of the National Council on Social Security reforms. The Japanese deputy prime minister is known for speaking his mind; however, this time, he may have gone a bit too far.
While he was attending a government panel to discuss social security reforms, he referred to the elderly who are unable to feed themselves as “tube people,” then he went even further and stated that the elderly should be allowed to “hurry up and die” in order to reduce the burden on a country tasked to pay for their medical expenses.
Then, he spoke about his experience. He said he had already written a will, directing his family to let him “hurry up and die,” refusing end-of-life care.
“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.”
According to ABC News, Aso said later he intended the comments to refer to his own wishes, not the way he hoped all Japanese elderly will be treated.
Elderly care remains to be a major challenge for Japan. Close to a quarter of the population is 65 and over, and that number is expected to increase to 40 percent within the next 50 years.