Seth Udinski, FISM News
In a shocking report from over the weekend, a professor from Yale university reiterated arguments he made in 2021 that Japan should encourage mass suicide of the elderly to deal with its aging population, according to a Daily Mail report.
Yale economics assistant professor Yusuke Narita originally made this claim in a 2021 interview and defended his statements in a weekend piece with New York Times.
In the 2021 interview he stated, “I feel like the only solution is pretty clear. In the end, isn’t it mass suicide and mass ‘seppuku’ of the elderly?”
“Seppuku” is a practice left over from 19th century Japan that would require disgraced Samurai to be disemboweled.
According to the Daily Mail report and other sources, Narita claimed over the weekend that his original comments were taken out of context as a “metaphor for discussion.”
Yusuke Narita, a Yale economist, has pushed Japan's hottest button his suggestions that the elderly commit "mass suicide". He says his comments were "taken out of context;" his critics accuse him of hate speech https://t.co/y08KQzGcCm
— Motoko Rich (@motokorich) February 12, 2023
But it appears he never reneged on his words, claiming that new openings in Japanese businesses that have previously been held by the elderly would be beneficial for Japanese society. He stated that he has tried to avoid the language of euthanasia that sparked such outrage but that the older generation must be phased out in some capacity.
‘I am not advocating its [seppuku] introduction,’ Narita said. ‘I predict it to be more broadly discussed.’
Narita’s comments come at a time when many are questioning how society can successfully care for the older generation without collapsing under the weight of costly health care requirements.
Japan’s population has experienced a significant decline in the last generation, dropping by over 600,000 last year alone. The country currently has a 1.3 fertility rate, considerably lower than the 2.1 number that is deemed necessary by many sociologists to maintain a nation’s population.
Author’s Biblical Analysis
For Christians, what do we make of such controversial words?
First, it would be wise for us to remember what the Bible actually says about the elderly. Contrary to Narita’s solution for overpopulation, we believe that those who are elderly, like every other category of mankind, carry in them the Imago Dei, or the image of God. They possess God-given and God-ordained value. To disrespect or profane that inherent dignity is to profane the God who created them in His image.
It would be wise for us to remember the Bible’s admiration of those who are elderly, who have lived their lives in a way that is pleasing to God.
The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness. – Proverbs 16:31
It is also important for us to understand that, whether or not Narita was intending for his words to sound as they did, the words we say carry weight.
Scripture tells us that rash words “thrust like a sword” (Proverbs 12:18). We must be sober, cautious, wise, and discerning every single time we open our mouths. The reality is, almost every time we do it is an opportunity either to glorify God with our words or bring shame to His name with our words.
We must treat our words with the same caution that we would when we handle fire. Fire can, in the appropriate place, provide warmth, comfort, a means to cook food, and light. It can be used (and has been used) to save people from death.
At the same time, if misused, it can cause untold destruction and suffering. We must realize that our words hold this same power, a power we must never take lightly.
Let us, therefore, always seek to glorify the Lord with our words. Let us not speak deceitfully or speak with words of gossip or with harsh cruelty. Instead, let us speak the truth, encourage one another, and ultimately tell the wonders of God’s great work, both in His creation and in our lives.
Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. – James 3:5-10