Let elderly people 'hurry up and die', says Taro Aso, Japanese minister, a photo by Michael Macfeat on Flickr.
Before launching into the Guardian article, some questions occurred to me that are not addressed in the text:
a) Does Taro Aso have mirrors in his home? He is seventy-two years old and his face shows every minute of his age. It looks like that of a mannequin melting in a blazing inferno caused by an arsonist in Vincent Price's House of Wax.
b) If he doesn't consider himself elderly at seventy-two, at what age does will he consider himself elderly?
c) How does Aso propose to enforce his system of the eugenics of death?
d) Would he have the military and/or the police round up the elderly and put them in holding camps before they are euthanized or would they be disposed of in situ?
e) What tools does he envision putting at the disposal of the elderly that voluntarily accept their fate? Does he envision an army of old people propelling themselves toward death for the glory of Japan like so many ancient kamikazes?
f) If the elderly resist, what penalties could they be threatened with? Wouldn't the penalties for resistance be the same as the reward for accepting mandatory euthanasia when death is the endgame of either strategy?
g) Considering his advanced age, Aso will be eligible to participate in his own program in the very near future. When his time comes, will this architect of death go quietly of his own accord? Will he follow his own dictates whether or not his proposal is mandatory or enabled by law? Or will Aso, like Pol Pot of Cambodia, die in his sleep in the comfort of his own bed without being subjected to the evil that he proposes to inflict on others?
h) How long will the Japanese people tolerate having a madman as the minister of a powerful governmental agency? 25% of the population of Japan is over sixty years old now. In fifty years the elderly will make up 40% of all eligible voters. Will he repeal their right to vote to protect his policy of enforced euthanasia?
i) Is it not unfathomable that Japan, long thought to revere their elderly, could have a minister propose policies that are diametrically opposed to this reverence?
j) Will greed, Fascism and the desire to persecute "the other" ever lose their appeal and fascination to those in power?
From the Guardian:
Taro Aso says he would refuse end-of-life care and would 'feel bad' knowing treatment was paid for by governmentTaro Aso referred to elderly patients who are no longer able to feed themselves as 'tube people'.
Japan's new government is barely a month old, and already one of its most senior members has insulted tens of millions of voters by suggesting that the elderly are an unnecessary drain on the country's finances.Taro Aso, the finance minister, said on Monday that the elderly should be allowed to "hurry up and die" to relieve pressure on the state to pay for their medical care."Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government," he said during a meeting of the national council on social security reforms. "The problem won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die."Aso's comments are likely to cause offence in Japan, where almost a quarter of the 128 million population is aged over 60. The proportion is forecast to rise to 40% over the next 50 years.The remarks are also an unwelcome distraction for the new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, whose first period as Japan's leader ended with his resignation after just a year, in 2007, partly due to a string of gaffes by members of his cabinet.Rising welfare costs, particularly for the elderly, were behind a decision last year to double consumption [sales] tax to 10% over the next three years, a move Aso's Liberal Democratic party supported.The 72-year-old, who doubles as deputy prime minister, said he would refuse end-of-life care. "I don't need that kind of care," he said in comments quoted by local media, adding that he had written a note instructing his family to deny him life-prolonging medical treatment.To compound the insult, he referred to elderly patients who are no longer able to feed themselves as "tube people". The health and welfare ministry, he added, was "well aware that it costs several tens of millions of yen" a month to treat a single patient in the final stages of life.Cost aside, caring for the elderly is a major challenge for Japan's stretched social services. According to a report this week, the number of households receiving welfare, which include family members aged 65 or over, stood at more than 678,000, or about 40% of the total. The country is also tackling a rise in the number of people who die alone, most of whom are elderly. In 2010, 4.6 million elderly people lived alone, and the number who died at home soared 61% between 2003 and 2010, from 1,364 to 2,194, according to the bureau of social welfare and public health in Tokyo.The government is planning to reduce welfare expenditure in its next budget, due to go into force this April, with details of the cuts expected within days.Aso, who has a propensity for verbal blunders, later attempted to clarify his comments. He acknowledged his language had been "inappropriate" in a public forum and insisted he was talking only about his personal preference."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."It is not the first time Aso, one of Japan's wealthiest politicians, has questioned the state's duty towards its large elderly population. In 2008, while serving as prime minister, he described "doddering" pensioners as tax burdens who should take better care of their health."I see people aged 67 or 68 at class reunions who dodder around and are constantly going to the doctor," he said at a meeting of economists. "Why should I have to pay for people who just eat and drink and make no effort? I walk every day and do other things, but I'm paying more in taxes."He had already angered the country's doctors by telling them they lacked common sense, made a joke about Alzheimer's patients, and pronounced "penniless young men" unfit for marriage.In 2001, he said he wanted Japan to become the kind of successful country in which "the richest Jews would want to live".He once likened an opposition party to the Nazis, praised Japan's colonial rule in Taiwan and, as foreign minister, told US diplomats they would never be trusted in Middle East peace negotiations because they have "blue eyes and blond hair".While figures released on Monday showed a record 2.14 million Japanese were receiving welfare in October 2012, Aso has led a life of privilege few of his compatriots could hope to match.He is the grandson of Shigeru Yoshida, an influential postwar prime minister, and is married to the daughter of another former premier.While campaigning for the premiership in 2008, Aso refused to acknowledge the use of hundreds of allied prisoners of war by his family's coal mining business during the second world war. He served as president of the firm's successor, Aso Cement, from 1973-79.
Petty images, 2014. All pleasure deprived, 60% for us, balls 'n' all for you. America is #1! Remember when we were given the choice of the country you were born and the completely dysfunctional and alcoholic family that you were born into before you were born and by the way, genius, what the hell were you thinking making that choice? Remember choosing the religion that you worshipped when you chose the family you were born into before you were born? Remember how America has the highest standard of living but it actually doesn't, Norway does? Remember how America has the best health care system except that it doesn't, it actually has the 6th highest infant mortality rate among industrialized nations? Remember how the US has the strongest economy except you better forget that China has us leveraged up the wah-zoo and the future of your grand-children has been mortgaged by the Ruling Class? Remember being given that choice even though you weren't, only they rich were and they will be the only ones to benefit by that elitist decision? USA! USA! The only ones that have rights are the hyper-rich in late-Capitalist culture. While you have been sleeping and worrying about gay marriage, free contraception, Obama-care and while we are talking about it, where the hell is it? the NRA, the IRA, the NBA, the NHL, the British Royal family, Obama's birth certificate, Weepy John Boehner, Sleepy John Estes, Billy Sol Estes, Rhianna, Ubi est mea? immigration, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, the nuclear desert that is soon to be Kasmir, Mad Men, Beyonce, fracking, fucking, dithering, McJobs, McMansions, SUV's, Maria Carey, the price of gas, Fifty Shades of Grey and the people that must be reading that drivel to the idiots that can no longer read anything but contentless and deliberately vague corporate emails, people that you used to work with doing the Gangnam Style dance instead of working, the cost of time wasted at work jerking around on Facebook, sexting, stem cells, the Westboro Baptist Church, Stonewall, Uggs, muggers, liberals, Tea Party inactivists, Harry Potter, wardrobe malfunctions, remember being given the choice to die due to the lack of universal health care because at one time you actually thought that your employer wasn't going to fuck you over? What fun that delusion was! Remember the New World Order, conspiracy theorists, neo-Cons, mandatory sentences, run-on sentences, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Al Gore, Edward Gorey, Frank Gorshin, Lindsay Lohan, Jerry Springer, Oprah Winfrey, Win-Dixie, the rise of the corporate lie, de facto segregation, real estate, USA! USA! global warming, Green energy, Range Rovers, remember what fun the tourists had taking pictures of each other in front of the fucking Rocky statue and the dance has gone on so long that the mindless sheep forgot that it isn't a work of art but a damn movie prop? Remember that the same tourists would rather watch reruns of Family Guy, which by the way, isn't at all funny, than walk an additional 100 yards to go to the Rodin Museum to see the work of an outdated but nonetheless real sculptor? What fun the tourists had! Remember that the tourists saw the commercials for the Barnes Foundation on TV so they went there even though the collection is worth an unimaginable amount of money but they can't afford to take their kids inside since the admission price is so high that it deliberately keeps the riff-raff from the surrounding neighborhood out? Remember that if these dilletantes knew the first thing about art at all that even an idiot or a bureaucrat, although unable to name even half the artists in the collection, could see that the whole premise of the place is bogus, that Barnes will got ass-raped for filthy lucre and regardless what kind of cash the Impressionists could muster at auction even a first year art student with a mild interest in this deader than Dillinger art movement could see that Barnes had a bad eye and a highly uneven collection regardless of how much money he threw at the project? Remember the one dollar coins that will somehow save the Federal government money but I will be damned how that can possibly be cheaper than a piece of paper, sucking up to your boss to hold on to that pathetic job that you hate that only gives cost of living raises and hates you back, all white management, sub-proletarian whites that are mired in an inescapable poverty but think that they are better than their neighbors just because of their color so they vote Republican, gay Republicans that vote for a party that hates their guts, doctors, pharmaceutical companies factoring the illegal black market trade into their production quotas while pretending they don't, hillbilly heroin which inevitably leads to heroin heroin, philanthropists like Stephan Girard that made his money from slavery and opium but instead of calling him a criminal he is referred to as a philanthropist, Scientology, remember that the Mural Arts Program is still waiting on its first Rivera or Christ, even a Violet Oakley? Remember that everyone pretended no to notice? Remember vegetarians that eat only vegetables although knowing that plants have feelings but they eat them anyway because the plants can't scream and Walt Disney Studios haven't created a cartoon plant cute enough to exploit yet, bulimia, Walt Disney Studios early support of Naziism ignored, Henry Ford's anti-Semitism ignored, Chick-fil-A and homophobia, Walmart and indentured servitude, culture as business, culture as entertainment, culture that isn't culture at all, the only true American culture is money and they sent all the manufacturing jobs to China, worrying about someone elses' sexuality, too worried to have your own sexuality but while you worry someone is banging your partner, animals with more rights than people, cameras everywhere including up your damn ass, no privacy, no anonymity, no rights, all wrongs and while you are worrying about all of this shit that you were made aware of in the media someone stole your dignity and all of the shit out of your living room so you better get another job to pay for the new shit even though there are no more jobs so now you will be forced to live more simply since you have no choice, no choice at all, not even one choice, no damn choice at all, all you have is your hand gun but you had it with you because you were afraid to go to the mall without it and while you were out they stole all of the replacement shit you bought to replace the last batch of stolen shit so now you may just have to remember how to read a book because your television is being watched by a family in some yurt in Latvia and maybe, just maybe, it might be a good thing?