Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has created controversy with statements he made on the issue of state support for the elderly, during a meeting on social security.
Aso speaks about how the financial responsibility for caring for senior citizens lies on those in Japan's work force. The country is facing an aging problem, with 25 percent of the population being over 65 years old, a number set to double by 2063.
He mentions that “tube people,” or seniors who cannot feed themselves on their own, should be allowed to pass.
The 72-year-old lawmaker uses himself as an example of social responsibility. In the event of him not being able to survive without artificial help, he would prefer to pass away.
“Even if (doctors) said they could keep me alive, it would be unbearable. [...] I would feel guilty, knowing that (treatment) was being paid for by the government,” he says.
“Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die,” he adds.
The only manner in which the state budget would be spared of expenses for end-of-life procedures for senior citizens is if they refused said procedures.
“This won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die,” he stressed in the conference.
Faced with old age himself, Aso claims that he already made out a will, in which he included a “do not resuscitate” order.
ABC News informs that Aso made similar comments in 2008, which he later retracted. He had referred to older residents as a “feeble” bunch.
“Why should I have to pay taxes for people who just sit around and do nothing but eat and drink?” he stated at the time.
In a similar matter, he took back his latest statement, noting that he only expressed a personal view, one that may or may not be shared by his peers.