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Japan

Japan Finance Minister Says Elderly Should "Hurry Up And Die"

AFP, WALL STREET JOURNAL, JAPAN TIMES (Japan)

Worldcrunch

TOKYO – Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said during a meeting that elderly people should “hurry up and die.”

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Taro Aso. Photo Sebastian Derungs

“Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. You cannot sleep well when you think it’s all being paid for by the government,” the 72-year-old political veteran said during a Monday meeting of the National Council on Social Security Reforms. “This won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die."

He said that he had left written instructions that his life not be artificially prolonged: “I don’t need that kind of care. I will die quickly,” he concluded.

During the meeting, he reportedly referred to “tube people” when talking of patients who cannot feed themselves.

Aso, a former prime minister who also currently serves as deputy prime minister, has a “long history of planting his foot firmly in his mouth,” according to the AFP. His tenure as prime minister only lasted a year, from Sept. 2008 to Sept. 2009.

When he was prime minister, his repeated gaffes were the target of media criticism, reports the Japan Times.

In November 2008, he had already targeted the elderly, saying: “Going to class reunions at the age of 67 or 68, I see feeble old people who go to the doctors’ a lot…My medical expenses are a lot lower because I walk and so on…Why should I have to pay for those who just eat and drink and make no effort?” reports the Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Japan blog.

Despite his gaffes, writes the Japan Times, Aso is also widely considered a smooth speaker with wit and humor. Following a technical problem with an interpreter's microphone during his speech at the U.N. in Sept. 2008, he stopped and said this "is not a Japanese machine, I think."

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Geopolitics

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023

Before heading to South Sudan to continue his highly anticipated trip to Africa, the pontiff was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he delivered a powerful speech, in a country where 40 million Catholics live.

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — You may know the famous Joseph Stalin quote: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Pope Francis still has no military divisions to his name, but he uses his voice, and he does so wisely — sometimes speaking up when no one else would dare.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Belgian Congo, a region plundered and martyred, before and after its independence in 1960), Francis has chosen to speak loudly. Congo is a country with 110 million inhabitants, immensely rich in minerals, but populated by poor people and victims of brutal wars.

That land is essential to the planetary ecosystem, and yet for too long, the world has not seen it for its true value.

The words of this 86-year-old pope, who now moves around in a wheelchair, deserve our attention. He undoubtedly said what a billion Africans are thinking: "Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered!"

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