Jan 24 2013, 3:15pm CST | by Jeffrey B. Roth
LONDON, England – When Gulliver's Travel author, Jonathan Swift proposed that impoverished Irish families could ease their financial burdens by selling their children to the rich as food, in his work: A Modest Proposal, it was meant as satire.
Too bad Japan's new finance minister wasn't attempting to be sarcastic when he said old people in his country should “hurry up and die” to alleviate the cost to taxpayers for caring for senior citizens. Taro Aso made the statement while discussing methods to attack Japan's demographic crisis – population decline paired with increased life expectancy.
According to statistical data, more than 20 percent of the 128 million Japanese people are 65 and older. Within 50 years, that number may increase to 40 percent, while, at the same time, birthrates drop precipitously.
Deputy Prime Minister Aso called people being kept alive with feeding tubes as “tube people.” The cost of care, he said, amounts to “tens of millions of yen” per month. Aso, age 72, said he would rather refuse special medical treatment and prefer to die; and he has instructed his family to avoid giving him life-extending care.
Later, Aso acknowledged that his remarks were inappropriate. Aso did say that his comments reflected his own personal opinion, rather than suggesting what “the end-of-life medical care system” should provide.
Jeffrey B. Roth
A multi-award winning writer, Jeffrey B. Roth is a well-known investigative reporter, who covers crime, law, politics, sciences, business, medicine, education, history and a wide range of other topics. In 2010, Roth won first place for a new series in the Keystone Press Awards, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. A published short story writer and poet, Roth is listed in the Locus Index of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. Currently, Roth writes for CBS Philadelphia, CBS Baltimore, the Philadelphia Examiner and regional publications, including Carroll Magazine, Carroll Business Quarterly and Hagerstown Magazine to name a few. In the past, Roth, a former crisis intervention counselor and teacher, has written for numerous Pennsylvania newspapers, state and national magazines and the Associated Press. He lives in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, west of Gettysburg, Pa.
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