I saw a recent article about the Japanese practice of ubasute. You see, like America, Japan is getting older with over 15% of the population aged over 75 and a staggering 29.1% aged 65 and above. Individuals who have dedicated their youth to productivity and societal contributions are now perceived as burdens and, shockingly, face the unthinkable fate of being discarded and intentionally terminated.
In Japan, there is a historical myth known as “ubasute” or “abandoning an old woman.” According to the myth, an elderly relative is left in a remote, desolate place to die. Although this folklore is present in Japanese culture, it is noted that ubasute does not appear to have been a common custom but rather a subject of legend. Until now.
Yusuke Narita stirred controversy by suggesting that elderly individuals in Japan should “kill themselves” to alleviate the burden on the state caused by the growing senior population. The toll of family ‘caregiver fatigue’ has led to murder-suicide or the killing of individuals aged 60 and above by their own relatives occurring every eight days.
Notably, in approximately 65% of these cases, both the care recipients and their caregivers were aged 60 or older. Scary.