A Yale professor’s recently surfaced suggestion that Japan’s elderly commit mass suicide was “inappropriate” but understandable given the social burdens the country’s aging population has caused, a Japanese political commentator told Fox News.
“Our frustration piles up and the frustration is real,” Yoko Ishii, a YouTuber, told Fox News. “So, I can actually understand if one uses this extreme way of expression, even though it is inappropriate.”
VIDEO: JAPANESE COMMENTATOR: YALE PROFESSOR SUGGESTING MASS SUICIDE OF ELDERLY ‘INAPPROPRIATE’ BUT UNDERSTANDABLE
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Dr. Yusuke Narita, a Japanese economics professor at Yale University, recently suggested the mass suicide of Japan’s elderly as a solution to burdens stemming from an aging population, such as the need for pension reform and, according to younger generations, fresh faces in government.
“I feel like the only solution is pretty clear,” Narita said during an online news program in 2021, according to The New York Times. “In the end, isn’t it mass suicide and mass ‘seppuku’ of the elderly?”
“Seppuku” is a Japanese term referring to a samurai’s ritualistic suicide, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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Ishii said she’s witnessed younger Japanese express financial resentment toward older generations.
“This is the common understanding of Japanese people about our society, that it’s obvious that our population is declining, and the older people are getting even older,” she told Fox News. “So, that means that our burdens as a society [are] getting bigger.”
“But then young people can’t afford to support them,” Ishii added.
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Japan has the second-highest proportion of people aged 65 or over in the world, according to the United Nations. And the country’s worker pool — which supports a federal pension program — is shrinking amid a plunging birth rate.
“There is criticism that older people are receiving too much pension money and the young people are supporting all the old people, even those who are wealthy,” Shun Otokita, a member of Japan’s upper house of parliament, recently said according to The New York Times.
In addition, much of Japan’s younger generation feels that their interests are not adequately represented in government — despite low voter turnout among the demographic — Ishii said.
“Young people don’t go vote,” she told Fox News. “Our voting rate is usually within the range of 30% to 50%.”
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“The politicians or candidates don’t have to listen to young people,” Ishii continued. “In order to get votes, they just need to listen to the elderly people.”
Just 34% of 18 and 19-year-olds voted in Japan’s parliamentary election last July, Bloomberg reported.
To hear more of Ishii’s reaction to Narita’s mass suicide remarks, click here.
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