(NewsReady.com) – Older populations offer mixed blessings, their years of wisdom and experience often counterbalanced by the limitations and healthcare issues that can come with aging. Medical issues that grow more common as people mature, such as cancer and dementia, can become burdensome on those tasked to care for them — a weight much of the youth is willing to carry. However, not everyone is so empathetic, and some people have no desire to honor older generations. The obligations in Japan, which has the highest percentage of elderly people in the world, have hit such peaks that one Yale professor suggested mass suicide as the solution.
A Yale economics professor has some ideas for how to deal with the burdens of Japan’s rapidly aging society. The “only solution,” he said, is mass suicide of the elderly, including ritual disembowelment. https://t.co/krlL3Ytd2e
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 12, 2023
The New York Times reported on a 2021 news clip in which Yusuke Narita, an assistant professor at Yale’s department of economics, said the “only solution” is “mass suicide.” He included “seppuku” — the 19th-century Samurai practice of disembowelment among the dishonored — as an option.
According to Nippon, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications estimated in September of 2022 that 29.1% of Japan’s population was over 65. More than 28 million were 70 or older, including an excess of 12 million who were at least 80 years old. Italy is second in its aging population percentage, with over 24%. Finland takes a close third, with more than 23%, and Puerto Rico and Portugal tie for fourth, with 22.9% of their population being at least 65 years old. While higher numbers of seniors pose challenges, many experts are dedicated to finding solutions that don’t include mass suicide.
Dr. Narita later backpedaled on his callous statement, claiming he’d been spoken in “abstract metaphor” in an attempt to dethrone aging “tycoons” who, according to him, hold too much political and journalistic power. Regardless of the assistant professor’s earnestness in his initial remarks, the damage might already be done. His critics feel such negative words could give rise to movements that cut programs many seniors depend on to survive, leaving older populations even more vulnerable than they already are.
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