Elderly Should ‘Hurry Up and Die’, Says Finance Minister

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro is in hot water over insensitive remark to elderly patients.

The most controversial article of today was a short article reporting a comment by the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aso Taro, who is also a former prime minister of Japan.

Aso, who is known for making strong statements, made a comment about the high-cost terminal-phase care for the elderly which has been viewed as insensitive by some netizens. Others agree with what he said, but not the way he said it, with some netizens even suggesting that the remark has been taken out of context.

The article has provoked reactions from various groups of netizens, resulting in thousands of comments and retweets.

From MSN Sankei News:

Deputy Prime-Minister Aso’s Comment on the High-Cost of Medical Treatment of the Elderly: ‘So That We Can Get Them to Hurry Up and Die’

At a the government’s Citizen’s Meeting for Reform of the Social Welfare System held on January 21, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aso Taro upheld the opinion with regard to the costly terminal-phase medical treatment of elderly people and others who don’t have long left to live that ‘Even though they want to die, they continue to live. When I think that this (high-cost care) is paid for with government money, I can’t sleep at night. We can’t resolve this issue unless we think of various things, like how we can get them to hurry up and die.’

In addition, Aso also stated that ‘The Ministry for Health, Labour, and Welfare know best of all the reality that this costs over ten million per month’.

Comments from 2ch.net:


He’s right. What’s the problem?


They should acknowledge euthanasia.


He’s too straight-talking, but actually what he’s saying is right.


It’s a really tricky issue as to whether or not you can say that someone in a coma with tubes connected to them is alive.


Everyone thinks like that, but a politician shouldn’t say it.


It would have been better if he’d said something like so that they can pass on without suffering, rather than hurry up and die.


Amazing. It’s an explosive remark, but, well, he’s correct w


Treatment to pointlessly extend someone’s life is unnecessary.


Well, it’s not really good from a moral perspective I guess, but I mean how many young people are getting crushed to let one old person live? Recently there are a lot of old people who don’t wish to live for a long time. Kinsan Ginsan’s daughters said the same thing.


You guys are saying this without a care, but when you’re that person, you’re really distressed. When my parents died last year, it was really difficult. Unless it’s really exceptional, you’d never ever wish that they’d hurry up and die.


Terminal care is a serious problem.


[Medical care for the elderly] is a really difficult issue.

Comments from Twitter:


I want to hurry up and die too RT @muniyama: I want to be with my family and to die quickly. When the time comes.


I know what he’s trying to say, but the way he says it is a bit reckless.


I agree with this. I mean, I guess we only have this problem in Japan.


I guess that care to extend life is just because of the ego of the family they’ll leave behind.

Kazuhito Fujiwara:

Did he really say this? I don’t know the context, but it’s unforgivable.


If you just add ‘I want to’ to the phrase, then the impression it gives is totally different. Did [the media] do that on purpose?

吉良 刹那:

The media’s political correctness in action. Still, the malice is apparent in the way the article is written.


As a remark made by a minister, I guess it’s bound to be criticised, but aren’t there also a lot of people who feel the same as Aso? I think it should be debated.


Can you really say that just lying there unconscious with wires attached to you is being alive?


Regarding dignified dying and terminal-stage care, I guess that the scope of an ethical debate is pretty big, but as far as high-cost medical treatment is concerned, if you’re commenting on it, you have to be careful or you’ll invite misunderstandings. Aso always has his foot in his mouth.


I think that on a personal level there is no need to take it back…Nowadays once they start life extending treatment they can’t stop it (it could be classed as murder) and so on, and this isn’t limited to the elderly. They are just so many problems there, I guess.

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