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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  • YourSupremeCommander

    Minister Aso Taro is literally an Aso.

    • hjohn592955

      indeed, ha

  • nintendo-nerd

    He should get his own tv show.

  • Kate

    If he and the government are concerned about the cost of end of life treatment and says that “these people want to die but can’t” then how about Japan allow euthanasia like how Switzerland does under certain circumstances.

  • I actually agree with him on this.

    There’s too many old people in Japan, and the huge amount of old people is the reason why many Japanese youths feel “irrelevant” because the old people are still getting the big jobs and the young people are forced to obey.

    If Japan slashes like 45% of the elderly population, then it would bring a massive change to Japanese society in both economic and social ways. Also, the likes of Ishihara would receive less votes than he did previously with less elderly people in Japan.

    • Kate

      “If Japan slashes like 45% of the elderly population”—–and how do you propose for them to do that? Systematically kill off almost half of the old people in Japan? You don’t think families would be a bit upset if the Japanese government went to killing grandma and grandpa off? That kind of action in itself would cause a revolt against the government. No one wants their family members massacred. They can change the law to allow for assisted euthanasia for end life, but regular old people deserve to live just as much as young people do. They were young once too and it is their country too.

      • Well, i am okay with euthanasia.

      • chucky3176

        Just round them up and make them work in Taro Aso’s father’s mine. Beat them up, starve them to death, and get all the free labor out of them. That way they can kill two birds with the same stone. Slowly kill them thereby reducing their population to manageable levels, and at the same time, help Japan’s economy.

        • Kate

          Sounds like North Korea? Hey I meant to email you but my plans changed and while I’m going to Seoul in March, Ill only be staying for 2 months before going to Australia to live. My husband was offered a job as a farm contractor there, managing Korean labor between Clayton and Brisbane. So I guess I’m getting a pet Koala bear now 🙂

          • Kate

            Oh and my offer still stands if you want to meet up in Seoul for a coffee!
            edit: I don’t drink coffee, so I’ll get a hot coco.
            edit: well it may be too hot for hot coco, ill have a tea.

          • Michael

            I guess you didn’t get his joke. Taro Aso’s family who owned big coal mines, got rich off of the backs of poor Asian forced laborers who were forcibly brought from Japan’s colonies. Many died in the mines from abuse, starvation, overwork, accidents, disease, and murder. Aso’s family never paid back the money they owed to their victims. Of course, the Japanese netizens wouldn’t even point out this little interesting fact, but what do you expect from this type of person without a conscious? Just think, this guy used to be the PM of Japan. Japanese people voted for him.

          • Kate

            Actually I did not know that, thanks for sharing! And that’s horrible that a tyrant like that is given any power by the people….

          • besudesu

            This is a really interesting point Michael, and in the Japanese political world there are plenty of similar examples. But I often wonder whether netizens would be aware of this at all (and even if they were, would it bother them?). Look at Abe. No one ever seems to mention that he is Kishi Nobusuke‘s grandson…

    • Darnation

      These are human beings you’re talking about, you nutjob.

      • So? Not every human deserves a free pass in life.

        • PixelPulse

          You can’t condemn a persons life just for the fact that they live long

          • @3bfd45dff237f77909c0548c1f752709:disqus When you have a country filled with fucktards like Shontaro Ishihara running the game, then it makes sense to hate on old people.

            And this is not only in Japan. Look at the old people in the Tea Party too.

        • Darnation

          What world are you living in? I’d hate to be your grandparent.

    • Not sure if young people have more values than the olds.

    • cb4242

      The old don’t want to relinquish any power, this is why you have so many young(er) that can’t find proper work. These people want to stay in power until their last breath. If Japan wants to move forward, they need to retire a lot of these people and when I say retire, I don’t mean to Valhalla. I mean, move them aside and allow a new generation that is hungry to work and want to make serious changes for Japan and yes, people like Hashimoto and Ishihara would never ever come to power and we wouldn’t be subjected to deal with their crap all the time.

  • cleo

    Didn’t Akihito just have another birthday? WTH is Arso talking about?

  • dk2020

    Wow this is big difference between how Koreans and Japanese treat their elderly .. or is it just this politician in particular?

    • Kate

      Its just this politician. The japanese take very good care of their families too and he isn’t talking about all elderly, just the ones that are on end of life care, the ones who are essentially being.kept alive by medicine instead of dieing naturally.

  • poko

    I think that the translation slightly misleads to misunderstanding.
    But I guess people need to know what he thinks before looking at his words in this article.

  • gangnamstyle

    this aso guy is right, we need to kill off some japs

  • Hokit

    I guess the reactions posted were selective and therefore might not be representative of how the general public feels about the health care system. At the end of the day though, this boils down to the issue of an ageing population and the uncertainties of how the options suggested will affect future generations. Open the doors to immigrants poses challenges in adapting to changing demographics and finding common ground to maintain social order and cultural homogeneity. Give more support and options for working mothers could increase birth rates, but that’s not a given. Either way, the country must soon commit to an ETHICAL and WORKABLE solution if it intends to have an economy powerful and wealthy enough to support its ageing population.

    • besudesu

      Hey Hokit, the reactions posted weren’t really selective on our part — we try to read through as many as possible and then pick the most representative comments. But it’s certainly true that they don’t represent the entirety of Japanese society. I doubt that many older people, for example, were involved in posting online, when in fact they’re really the ones it’s going to affect the most! Plus, I completely agree with you that giving women a better deal and how immigration might help the economy if the birth-rate fails to improve are things that the government will need to consider seriously.

      • Hokit

        A lot of the reactions appear extreme, and not just in this article. I accept that the anonymity afforded by the internet encourages some to be more frank, but drawing attention to those comments could give the impression that there is an over abundance of extremists in Japan.

        Doesn’t change the fact that I like this site as a one-stop shop for the topics that are trending.

        • besudesu

          No, that’s right. It’s always at the forefront of my mind that the comments we translate should be representative. But of course, we only have limited time in which to translate them; this is why we always show the comment source (and over time readers will know what to expect from various sources). Also — and I can never emphasise this enough — we only translate netizen opinions on trending articles. And a 2ch.net article can trend, get hundreds of thousands of views, but the majority of the comments will still be from 2ch netizens. Japanese internet comments are generally right wing (great article on that here if you’re interested!), but of course the opinions of the Japanese populace vary considerably from person to person, and japanCRUSH is by no means trying to suggest that we’re translating the spectrum of Japanese opinion — we only translate Japanese internet culture.

          But I’m really glad you like the site, and I do value the input ^^

  • Paul M

    I don’t know if it’s the translation (and in no way am I criticizing the amazing job you mods are doing) but Aso Taro sure picked some choice words to put forward an issue that deserves serious discussion. I know that if I’m terminally ill and and incapable of controlling my bowel movements let alone being able to look after myself, I would want to end my own life with some sense of dignity.

    • besudesu

      Thanks for adding that Paul. Actually, it’s not in the original article posted here — this was the article that trended the most — but there were several other articles, many of which came after this one. I think it’s safe to say that Aso’s remark was longer than it was portrayed in this article (and in other articles I saw). Thanks for adding some context!

  • He has said this before, and so have other Japanese politicians. It has become an acceptable, albeit aggressive sentiment on social policy, with the aim of cutting support for the elderly.

  • aguy

    yeah, and we should eat babies…a little soyulent green anyone? 😉

    • maybeabanana

      So economically sound dude.

  • I agree. Let’s start with Shintaro Ishihara.

  • rollin wit 9’s

    i wish i could draw caricatures. This guys face would be first on the list. It’s almost anime like, he looks so angry haha

  • maybeabanana

    This is an example of how ineffective and financially unwise social welfare is.

  • Well.. he can hurry up and die too.

  • Hwang Dongseong

    His opinion is insane but right for Japan economy. Japan will crush like this site name if Japanese cannot resolve public debt.

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