Yusuke Narita, an assistant professor of economics at Yale University believes that old people should just perform “seppuku” in order to stem off the growing crisis in Japan over entitlement programs that may soon run dry.
“Japan has the highest proportion of elderly citizens of any country in the world, and the percentage of the population aged over 65 has steadily increased since the 1950s,” according to Business Insider.
“Last month, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the country was on the verge of a crisis.”
The New York Times reported that he said, “I feel like the only solution is pretty clear. In the end, isn’t it mass suicide and mass ‘seppuku’ of the elderly?” Seppuku is an act of ritual disembowelment that was a code among dishonored samurai in the 19th century.
Last year, when asked by a school-age boy to elaborate on his mass seppuku theories, Dr. Narita graphically described to a group of assembled students a scene from “Midsommar,” a 2019 horror film in which a Swedish cult sends one of its oldest members to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff.
“Whether that’s a good thing or not, that’s a more difficult question to answer,” Dr. Narita told the questioner as he assiduously scribbled notes. “So if you think that’s good, then maybe you can work hard toward creating a society like that.”
At other times, he has broached the topic of euthanasia. “The possibility of making it mandatory in the future,” he said in one interview, will “come up in discussion.”
Narita is not a rogue outsider. He’s merely saying out loud what many in our “intellectual class” believe. For example, Canada has begun advertising assisted suicide as a way to get expenses off of its single-payer healthcare system. In what has been called “probably the biggest existential threat to disabled people since the Nazis’ program in Germany in the 1930s,” Canadian newspapers have been filling up with stories of people who want to live, but have handicaps, being nudged towards suicide.
Legal Insurrection brought up that Narita has many critics in Japan, and they think he’s gone too far this time around, nothing that Japan’s history in World War II makes that nation more susceptible to wild policies like the one the Yale professor proposed.
“Dr. Narita’s language, particularly when he has mentioned “mass suicide,” arouses historical sensitivities in a country where young men were sent to their deaths as kamikaze pilots during World War II and Japanese soldiers ordered thousands of families in Okinawa to commit suicide rather than surrender.
Critics worry that his comments could summon the kinds of sentiments that led Japan to pass a eugenics law in 1948, under which doctors forcibly sterilized thousands of people with intellectual disabilities, mental illness or genetic disorders. In 2016, a man who believed those with disabilities should be euthanized murdered 19 people at a care home outside Tokyo.
University of Tokyo sociologist Yuki Honda called Narita’s comments ‘hatred toward the vulnerable.’”
Many of Narita’s biggest fans have become frustrated by Japan’s aging society, which makes them especially dangerous. The outlet continued, “’It’s irresponsible,’ said Masaki Kubota, a journalist who has written about Dr. Narita. People panicking about the burdens of an aging society ‘might think, ‘Oh, my grandparents are the ones who are living longer,’ Mr. Kubota said, “‘and we should just get rid of them.’
Masato Fujisaki, a columnist, argued in Newsweek Japan that the professor’s remarks “should not be easily taken as a ‘metaphor.’ Dr. Narita’s fans, Mr. Fujisaki said, are people “who think that old people should just die already and social welfare should be cut.'”
According to reports, the Yale prof is a rising star who “has gained thousands of followers on social media in Japan among resentful youth who believe their economic progress has been held back by the aging society.
Narita has more than 550,000 followers on Twitter and regularly appears on online Japanese shows and magazine covers.”
Assisted suicide activists have slowly been gaining traction in the United States. In February, Washington Monthly wrote a piece titled, “Why Democrats Should Become the Party of Medically Assisted Dying,” trying to mainstream the idea. Over the past decade or so, nine Democratic-led legislatures have legalized assisted suicide in their states.
In 2022, Oregon declared it unconstitutional to refuse assisted suicide to people from other states willing to travel there to die. This effectively makes everyone in the United States eligible for that state’s suicide regime.
Death With Dignity, a public advocacy group, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying for the cause in 2021.