Yale Economist Says Stagnant Japan Would Benefit from Mass Suicide of Elder Citizens

A growing number of so-called “progressives” are advocating an end to economic growth. I do not believe that most of them understand how much more suffering and death the world will experience if their advocacy succeeds. (I remember decades ago seeing a beautiful but troubling Japanese movie with my friend Hajime Miyazaki, in which the loving, aging matron of a starving family was willingly carried up a mountain by one of her sons and left there so the other members of her family would have more to eat.)

(p. A1) In interviews and public appearances, Yusuke Narita, an assistant professor of economics at Yale, has taken on the question of how to deal with the burdens of Japan’s rapidly aging society.

“I feel like the only solution is pretty clear,” he said during one online news program in late 2021. “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.

. . .

(p. A10) Given Japan’s low birthrate and the highest public debt in the developed world, policymakers increasingly worry about how to fund Japan’s expanding pension obligations.

. . .

In Japanese folklore, families carry older relatives to the top of mountains or remote corners of forests and leave them to die.

. . .

In broaching euthanasia, Dr. Narita has spoken publicly of his mother, who had an aneurysm when he was 19. In an interview with a website where families can search for nursing homes, Dr. Narita described how even with insurance and government financing, his mother’s care cost him 100,000 yen — or about $760 — a month.

For the full story, see:

Motoko Rich and Hikari Hida. “Scholar Suggests Mass Suicide for Japan’s Old. Does He Mean It?” The New York Times (Monday, Feb. 13, 2023): A1 & A10.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Feb. 12, 2023, and has the title “A Yale Professor Suggested Mass Suicide for Old People in Japan. What Did He Mean?”)

2 thoughts on “Yale Economist Says Stagnant Japan Would Benefit from Mass Suicide of Elder Citizens”

  1. April fools? You often post on anti-aging and life prolonging research. The U.S. has similar problems on the horizon with social security and Medicare, I hope people aren’t reduced to their economic value. I suspect that wouldn’t end with only the elderly.

    1. After posting the entry, it occurred to me that it might be interpreted as an April Fools joke, but out of laziness I decided to leave it posted on April 1. I wish it was only an April Fools joke, but this is a real story about the views of a real Yale economist from Japan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *