Japan’s fertility dearth has led to “hurry up and die” mentality

japanfertilityCalling elderly patients unable to feed themselves “tube people” and saying that “the problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die” is not only offensive and cruel, it misses an important point: Japan is getting older because the Japanese have stopped having children….

The average Japanese woman gives birth to one child at around thirty, and stops.

Japan’s fiscal-demographic trap is not the result of some law of nature — it’s the product of culture. For a host of reasons, the Japanese placed having and rearing children near the bottom of their “to do” list.

Japan is only leading the way in this regard. Nineteen countries, including Germany and South Korea, have lower fertility rates than Japan. Singapore’s rate is forty percent lower than Japan’s.

Here in the USA, our worker-to-retiree ratio is projected to be the same in 2050 as Japan’s is today.

The economic consequences of declining fertility rates are no secret. Yet, telling people they should have more children these days is only slightly less popular than urging the elderly to “hurry up and die.”

Oh, by the way, the U.S. fertility rate is now below replacement level. But of course that’s okay, because no government official here would ever say the elderly should hurry up and die. Right?

~ Eric Metaxas, commenting on Japanese finance minister Taro Aso’s suggestion that a fiscal crisis could be helped by allowing elderly invalids to die, Break Point, February 11

(Side note: Interestingly, Japan has been testing and selling Babyloid robots (which are meant to act like infants), for treating symptoms of depression in the elderly… in lieu of human infants.)

[Photo via headlineslibrary.wordpress.com]

8 thoughts on “Japan’s fertility dearth has led to “hurry up and die” mentality”

  1. “Oh, by the way, the U.S. fertility rate is now below replacement level. But of course that’s okay, because no government official here would ever say the elderly should hurry up and die. Right?”
     
    Just FWI, no cohort of women born in the US since 1945 has had replacement level tfr.  The Baby Boom generation, ironically is the first in history not to have replacement level fertility. I have to wonder the impact of the Green Revolution had on all of this.  What would fertility rates have looked like if people were able to limit fertility but not increase the food supply?  

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  2. Japan also has a fairly high abortion rate, about 30 percent of all pregnancies are terminated.
    Isn’t the “birth dearth” here in the U.S. being made up by for by immigration?
     

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  3. Taro Aso is totally tactless all the time, and is famous for it.
    Here’s an ancillary quote: “Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government.”
    I think he’s suggesting a more passive withholding of futile care, rather than the Belgian model of actively killing people off. But once a  government gets any hold on this idea, it’s a disaster for everyone.
    Fun facts:  Taro Aso is now Japan’s Finance Minister, but he previously served as  Prime Minister. He comes from a very old, Catholic family in Southern Japan. He must have been educated by Jesuits……… ;-)
     
     

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  4. Surely you remember Gov Lamm’s 1984 speech at “St Joseph” hospital in Colorado:

    “Elderly people who are terminally ill have a ”duty to die and get out of the way” instead of trying to prolong their lives by artificial means, Gov. Richard D. Lamm of Colorado said Tuesday. People who die without having life artificially extended are similar to ”leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up,” the Governor told a meeting of the Colorado Health Lawyers Association at St. Joseph’s Hospital. ”You’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way,” said the 48-year-old Governor. ”Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1984/03/29/us/gov-lamm-asserts-elderly-if-very-ill-have-duty-to-die.html

    In 1984, his outspoken statements in support of physician-assisted suicide generated some controversy, specifically over his use of the phrase “we have a duty to die.” Lamm later explained that he “was essentially raising a general statement about the human condition, not beating up on the elderly,” and that the exact phrasing in the speech was “We’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way with all of our machines and artificial hearts and everything else like that and let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.” [9] His dire predictions for the future of social security and health care (“duty to die”) earned him the nickname “Governor Gloom”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lamm

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  5. I suggest that everyone who talks about others having a “duty to die.” overpopulation, etc.,  visit the “Undiscovered Country” first!

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  6. Isn’t the “birth dearth” here in the U.S. being made up by for by immigration?
    Kind of.  I think I read recently that 42 million had immigrated here from 1500-1965 and since 1965 about 50 million have immigrated.    Kind of creepy how the number of immigrants is about ballpark equivalent of how many have been murdered by abortion.

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  7. I’m pretty sure this last year was the first time U.S. fell below replacement level for all demographics. First generation immigents do have higher fetility levels than native American (lower case ‘n’, although, yes they gave higher fertility levels than Native Americans too), but their level is still below replacement now. America as a whole has entered the same population winter most other nations on earth are suffering from.

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