Japan’s finance minister, Taro Aso made an astonishing statement recently, to the effect that Japan’s elderly, infirm and others financially dependent on the government, should ‘hurry up and die’.
This was prompted by the rising cost of care for the elderly, the ageing population, and a very low birth rate. With little or no immigration and having fully embraced the western contraceptive culture, many analysts say that Japan, as a nation, is in an irrecoverable ‘death spiral’ facing extinction. The average age is already in the mid-forties, compared to say Arab countries where it’s in the mid twenties.
This hostility to the old, weak and vulnerable members of society represents a massive shift in Japanese culture over only a few decades. Whilst it never embraced Christianity in the mainstream; the values of the Japanese were always transcendent.
Their code of honour (Bushido) was one of respect for their elderly parents and ancestors, a sense of duty to protect the weak and helpless, self-discipline and a focus on the higher values and virtues. In the pre-war and ancient times traders and merchants were the least regarded in society.
Post World War II, Western ideas were embraced and led by industrialists who enshrined profit, production, technological achievement and economic might as the new values. Now as one of the most developed, richest and advanced nations, it is coming to realise that it sowed the seeds of its own destruction in its choices. The contraceptive culture, contains within itself the subtle command to ‘empty the earth’ in opposition to God’s command to Adam and Eve to ‘fill the earth’.
Now in a panic to save itself, the nation turns in on itself all the more, willing to sacrifice its old and helpless on the altar of the Yen, to postpone their inevitable fall.
Truly, the only remnant of Bushido in Japan resides, paradoxically, in the hearts of the countries Christians; they alone will fight for life, for the weak and vulnerable, and hold fast to the integrity and honour that once made Japan the cradle of Eastern civilisation.