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Yale professor under fire for suggesting Japan’s elderly should commit ‘mass seppuku’

Japanese Yale professor Yusuke Narita. (Screenshot)
Japanese Yale professor Yusuke Narita. (Screenshot)
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16 Feb 2023 06:02:14 GMT9
16 Feb 2023 06:02:14 GMT9

Arab News Japan

DUBAI: Japanese Yale professor Yusuke Narita has come under fire for comments he made regarding Japan’s senior population, suggesting that the older generation should commit mass ‘seppuku.’

Seppuku is the act of ritual disembowelment that was a code among dishonored samurai in the 19th century.

In an online news program in late 2021, Narita, an assistant professor of economics, offered his solution for Japan’s aging society. 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?”

According to the New York Times, a school-boy also asked the Yale professor to elaborate on his theories and he, in response, described 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.

Narita is also under fire for touching on the topic of euthanasia. He has said that there is a “possibility of making [euthanasia] mandatory in the future.”

He later defended his statements, saying they had been taken out of context. Narita said that he was simply addressing efforts to remove senior people out of leadership positions in business and politics and make room for younger Japanese generations, the New York Times reported.

Following his comments, the 37-year-old academic gained thousands of followers on social media in Japan, as many youths believe the economy’s standing is due to the older society. His Twitter following currently stands at 572K followers.

However, many on social media disagree with Narita’s comments. One person suggested that the professor was trying to “attract attention.”

The comment said: “An adult version of a person who is doing conveyor belt sushi terrorism. He is trying to raise his own value by attracting attention and appearing in the media, but he also has a serious disregard for human rights.”

Another Twitter user said the New York Times article made him “feel bad” adding that he was “shocked” by the contents of the article.

Similar comments were made in Japan in 2013 when former Finance Minister ASO Taro said that the elderly should “hurry up and die” to spare the nation the cost of their medical care.

Aso explained at the time that he would “feel bad” knowing that his medical treatment when he is older was “paid for by the government.” He added: “The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”

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