According to the Finance Minister of Japan, the elderly should be allowed to end their lives in peace, without any artificial medical support.
Taro Aso, well known for his harsh way of speaking, told the National Council on Social Security Reforms that the government pays for the meaningless enforced prolongation of lives of those whose days are numbered.
He says that the social security system is being crippled by the support of people over 60 years old, which already constitutes approximately a quarter of the Japanese population.
Taro Aso, himself 72 years old, said, “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 for by the government.”
He revealed that he has already left written instructions for his relatives that he does not want his life prolonged by any artificial methods when his end is near. “I don’t need that kind of care. I will die quickly,” Aso said.
Referring to the "tube people", as he calls them, in a terminal condition and unable to feed themselves, the minister suggested that they “hurry up and die,” rather than burden the state with end-of-life medical care.
Japan's population currently numbers 128 million, with almost a quarter older than 60, and it is forecast that within the next 50 years, the number of pensioners will reach 40% of the population.
Already having a notorious reputation to being contrary to what is politically correct, his remarks have caused a scandal in the country, but he retains the right to speak his mind:
"I said what I personally believe, not what the end-of-life medical care system should be," he told reporters. "It is important that you be able spend the final days of your life peacefully."
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Aso comes from a blue-blooded Japanese family, is married to the daughter of another former premier and is the grandson of Shigeru Yoshida, one of Japan’s most influential prime ministers. Yoshida reportedly helped rebuild the country from the devastation of World War II.