Japan’s deputy prime minister has disproved the theory that a politician is a person who thinks twice before he says nothing. Taro Aso has offended millions of elderly Japanese by saying that they should be allowed to “hurry up and die” to ease the burden on the taxpayer to pay for their medical care. Aso, who doubles up as Finance Minister, told a meeting of the national council on social security reforms: “I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government. The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”
Aso’s remarks came shortly after the latest demographic statistics revealed that even as Japan’s birth rate plummets, almost a quarter of its 128 million population is over the age of 65, a figure that is set to increase to 40% by 2050.