‘Suicide only solution to Japan’s population problem’: Yale professor

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Old people in Japan should “kill themselves” to ease the state from burdening itself, said a Yale University professor.

Yusuke Narita, an assistant professor of economics at Yale, was referring to the growing population of the elderly in the country. He also said that euthanasia must be made compulsory in Japan, reported the First Post.

Speaking to New York Times he said, “I feel like the only solution is pretty clear.”

Equating mass suicide with ‘Seppuku’, a ritual disembowelment that was forced upon samurai that had dishonoured the country during the 19th century, Professor Narita said, “In the end, isn’t it mass suicide and mass ‘seppuku’ of the elderly?”

Japan’s population has, for the first time, recorded an increase in the elderly population.

Narita’s comments have invited a lot of criticism from people. Defending his remarks about mass suicide as a “metaphor”, the 37-year-old professor said, “I should have been more careful about their potential negative connotations.”

He added, “After some self-reflection, I stopped using the words last year.”

Yusuke Narita explained the logic behind his remarks to New York Times. He claims that measures like euthanasia would make way for younger people in businesses, politics and other aspects of society that older people refuse to leave.

When asked to defend his views, Narita showed a clip from the 2019 movie called Midsommar, in which a cult coerced an elderly member of the group to jump off a cliff, reads the report.

“Whether that’s a good thing or not, that’s a more difficult question to answer. So, if you think that’s good, then maybe you can work hard toward creating a society like that,” he said.

Talking to the Times, he said, “I was primarily concerned with the phenomenon in Japan, where the same tycoons continue to dominate the worlds of politics, traditional industries, and media/entertainment/journalism for many years.”

While his comments made some angry, they also won him an audience in the form of Twitter followers.

Last year, data revealed that people over 75 in Japan accounted for over 15 per cent of the population while those of 65 accounted for 29.1 per cent.

In terms of world rankings, Japan has the highest proportion of the elderly population followed by Italy and Finland.

According to Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications data, elderly men in Japan totalled 15.74 million and the number of elderly women came to 20.53 million.

The proportion of the elderly has been growing in Japan since the 1950s, reads the report.

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