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Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso Tell Elderly "Hurry up and Die"

January 25th 2013

sunset in japan

Once again, Finance Minister Taro Aso find himself in hot water after saying that people should give elderly people the freedom to “hurry up and die” instead of allowing the government to take care of the costs for their end-of-life medical care.

Reports say that the 72 year old Aso, who’s also the deputy prime minister, said this during a meeting of the National Council on Social Security Reforms: “Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. You cannot sleep well when you think it’s all paid by the government.” He also shared that he has left instructions that when he reaches that stage, he doesn’t want his life artificially prolonged. “I don’t need that kind of care. I will die quickly.” But after reports about his statements in this meeting came out, he clarified that he was just talking about his personal wishes and not dictating what the government policy should be for end-of-life medical care.

This is not the first time that the former prime minister has said something controversial. In 2001, he received a furious backlash after saying that what defines a successful country is if “rich Jews” want to live there. Even if he comes from a prestigious, blue blood family, (he’s the grandson of former prime minister Shigeru Yoshida and he’s married to the daughter of another former prime minister) he has earned the reputation of making “crude verbal slip-ups”. Saying something about a touchy issue like ageing, and in a country where almost a quarter of its 128 million people is over 60 is just another instance where he put his foot in his mouth.

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