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I'm 73, going on 74, and I've never had a long stay in hospital. It's not fair that the tax I pay covers all the medical expenses of slouches.

64 Comments

Finance Minister Taro Aso, in response to a question in the Diet about the social welfare system and how the government can rein in welfare costs. (Bloomberg)

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Maybe that's because you've been pampered with the best quality food, top notch personal medical service and comfortable lifestyle... all at taxpayer expense.

40 ( +41 / -1 )

While the case that he states may be true, isn't he happy to help that mother who has a difficult premature childbirth, or the child with cancer, or the person who suffers an accident and must undergo extensive surgeries and rehab, or the octogenarian who built the country and standard of living that Aso presently enjoys who now needs care? As far as I can tell there's not a slouch in that small sampling--and the list could go on.

Such a comment suggests that the Minister is a bit of a slouch himself when it comes to his levels of compassion.

29 ( +31 / -2 )

I'm annoyed, going on angry, that my taxes are being used to support already rich, well-connected, semi-literate, gaffe-prone fools who've been promoted well above their abilities dining at Hotel Okura.

48 ( +49 / -1 )

Your time will come Aso.

This Aso, like the Asos before him, is rich partly thanks to slave labor during Japan's colonizing period.

How is it fair that he gets all that money just by being born, all that dirty money? Fair would be if he never inherited a dime. Then he would have been through the health system several times by now.

36 ( +37 / -1 )

Where to begin! First off, i find it amazing that the Deputy Prime Minister can say this without being forced to resign. Second, that is what social insurance is all about, collectively paying for everyone, so those who are not as lucky as you, still have the right to receive medical care. The LDP sounds more and more like the Republican party every day. Cut corporate taxes. Get rid of medical insurance. Reduce pensions to almost nothing. And people soundly voted for them in the last election, against their own interests. The world is truly a strange place,

18 ( +19 / -1 )

It's not fair that the tax I pay covers all the medical expenses of slouches.

Amazing that a finance minister is a supposedly first-world country could make such an idiotic statement. First it shows complete ignorence of the concept of social insurance, and, second, he is speaking about a country where 25% of the population is over 65. But, what I'd really like to know is how many tax dollars get funnelled into Aso family-related businesses each year. How come he's not complaining about paying those tax dollars?

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Taro Aso is not unique, his ilk exists in the government halls of all countries. They call themselves conservatives, liberals, greens, or socialists, but first and foremost, they are politicians. They purport to serve the people, but only after taking a generous serving for themselves first.

The sad thing is that foolish people keep electing and reelecting these people, and then wonder why their governements have spent five generations' of their tax money, and their countries get buried in debt. The regular people commute each day on the subway and train, while those who are supposed ro serve them are chauffered around in limousines, helicopters, and private jets.

I don't blame Taro Aso as much as I blame the people who put him and his kind in office. They can remove these people from office as easily put them in, but, as Aso himself says, the people are slouches.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

The man is a moron. Any public money spent on his health would be a waste. Yet still, if he needed it, the system would be there to help him.

(Why is he a moron? Well, he's reached the age he is with no major illnesses, he's inherited bags of money he never earned a penny of, he keeps being elected to a cushy job that he performs abysmally, and he thinks all this is 'not fair'. Typical born-with-a-silver-spoon-in-the-mouth-and-nothing-in-the-cranium nitwit.)

16 ( +17 / -1 )

It's not fair that the tax I pay covers all the idiots like Aso.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

He'd make a good Republican.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Jeff,

He basically is a republican. Next he will say that since he does not drive himself on roads he should not have to pay for roads for the wage slaves that use the roads daily.

What a loser. And your next PM if the LDP continues to hoodwink the Japanese public and stay in power.

And when Aso does need healthcare, guess who will pay for it even though he is super rich. Us.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Aso should also say: "It's not fair that the tax I pay covers all the J-farm subsidies expenses of slouches."

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I marvel at the social awareness, altruism and sense of responsibility in this man.

The complete LACK of it, that is.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Nice philosophy. Presumably it's fair that the hungry die of hunger, the sick die of disease, and the poor remain destitute. Let's hope the world of the future isn't filled with people like this.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Said the multi-billionaire. Typical 1%er tripe.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Must admit the amount I pay into Mediicare-or the Health Insurance System-certainly is way more than me or my family use in medical expenses. But that may be off topic cause the medical expenses are really good here compared to some places. Then again that is because Im on insurance....otherwise theyre terrible. Maybe all people-young or old- who rely on the medical industry have all just been sucked into the maelstrom.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

You know, there are so many of these old fogies who can't stop opening their bent mouths and inserting their foot. They get older and older, and you just wish they'd put both their feet in the grave and yet they're still on this planet. Aso, Ishihara, etc.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

An absolute, out-of-touch MESS.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aso,

Because your medical care is most likely brought right to your giant house. So really you don`t have to go to a hospital.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Finance Minister Taro Aso

I've never cashed loads of tax money to chronically bring shame to a whole country with stupid declarations. It's not fair to anyone that this guy doesn't get fired already.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And this guy is complaining? Just saying that when I turn 74, I'll be more thrilled that because I'm in such good health that I don't have to depend on medical welfare.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This buffoon never learns, does he? Why won't he just shut his twisted mouth and stop grunting shite? The amount of taxpayers' money he's bilked out of us over the course of his privileged life would put the amount of money he pays into the system into very stark perspective.

That is, of course, if he is actually paying in at all. Remember a few years ago, when it turned out the Prime Minister of the time (koizumi) hadn't been paying his mandatory social contributions? I'd very much like to see this twisted-gobbed old cretin's accounts.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

People who break their bones and get cancer are slouches?

Who exactly are the voters in Fukuoka's 8th district who have voted for this guy in one election after another since the 1980s? I'm really curious to know, as I think Fukuoka (the city, anyway; don't know the whole prefecture too well) is a great place. Do people there just have so little self-respect that they're resigned to having somebody like Aso represent their district? This is almost as bad as lower-income whites in the American South voting for oligarchs who'd like to see the federal minimum wage cut in half if not eliminated altogether.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He'd make a good Republican.

Politicians wear whichever coat most easily fools their constituents. The people may think of themselves as republicans or democrats, and may actially believe in what these parties "stand for", but it's all smoke and mirrors. The two-party system is merely a means to divide the people and separate them into two sides, which therefore makes it easier for the powers-that-be to control them.

The so-called leaders of these parties can and do switch parties if they think doing so will keep them in office. The people seldom change parties, they have been thoroughly fooled and manipulated into giving their votes without ever questioning what their leaders do. Those who choose candidates merely by political affiliation are sheep, who are sheared, and milked regularly, but whom are never listened to.

Wake up sheep, when the wool and milk run out, they'll begin to take your flesh as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He did admit back in 2009, that during the war his family firm used British POW's and others as slave labor. They were forced to work in mines. 101 British prisoners, 197 Australians and 2 Dutch. In 1951, as part of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, they received £76 compensation each. So at least part of the family fortune was built on slave labor.

The tax system is never fair. Those in the highest paying bracket could complain they they pay the most taxes but only use private medical care and private schools for their children.

Others could argue that they have no children or don't own a car.

I think people who need medical care or are suffering from a terminal disease are not slouches.

Taro Aso should be happy that he has experienced a life time of good health, probably due to receiving good food during his childhood and not having to live in poor damp and wet accommodations.

We could all complain about our taxes being wasted by the salaries paid to politicians in return for doing so little.

Besides, Taro Aso, is a Catholic Christian, so he should remember his sense of charity?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I'm 73, going on 74, and I've never had a long stay in hospital. It's not fair that the tax I pay covers all the medical expenses of slouches.

All nations have a responsibility to all it's people and not just the rich and powerful. A healthy and well fed populace is a healthy working society.

Taxes are collected for the betterment of the people and not to save the mega rich when they need a bailout.

All nations need to help those that can't help themselves.

But, at the same time nations must work to ensure that abuses to the system are not being committed by folks that don't want to do their part.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I thought it was just some generic shouts-at-clouds looney tunes sprouting this, but Aso?

There are those who abuse the system. So fix the system, it's why politicians are voted into office. That should keep you busy enough to shut your trap a while.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All nations have a responsibility to all it's people and not just the rich and powerful.

This is completely wrong! Nations have no responsibility. People have respnsibility. A nation can never become greater than it's people! A nation of responsible people will be a great ans successful nation. A nation of irresponsible people will be weak and impoverished. The moment we seperate a nation from the people who make up the state, we become serfs.

As developed nations increasingly remove the consequences of irresponsible behaviour of irresponsible people, and force the responsible to pay for it, they are becoming weaker, and more impoverished. The widespread encouragement of irresponsibility by removing the consequences one faces for making bad choices, whilst at the same time discouraging those who succeed, is more of what is turning developed countries into heavily indebted, slow-growing nations with increasing income inequality.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

He'd make a good Republican.

If anything, he would be a Dem. He is from a well connected political family, given his positions based on that connection.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Thought I' d heard the last of Me-first-screw-you Thatcherism when I left England in 1990.

These stupid, selfish people need watching, or Japanese society is going down....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Alphaape - A well connected political family - er the Bush family readily comes to mind.

Unfortunately Aso's many, many "gaffes" over the years are still tolerated by the media and the people (or they display little show of disaffection) and strangely so, because often it's the "people" whom he slights.

Has there ever been a strong move to have him removed over his statements? In many democracies he would not have survived this long.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

cleoMay. 28, 2014 - 08:06AM JST

The man is a moron.

Please don't mistake complete arrogance - disdain for the common people for stupidty

3 ( +3 / -0 )

sangetsu03May. 28, 2014 - 11:21AM JST This is completely wrong!

Your opinion.

sangetsu03May. 28, 2014 - 11:21AM JST Nations have no responsibility. People have respnsibility. A nation can never become greater than it's people! A nation of responsible people will be a great ans successful nation.

Nor can a person or a corporation ever become greater than a nation. If they did nations would be ruled by monarchs, dictators and elite families, Democracy would be just a dream.

sangetsu03May. 28, 2014 - 11:21AM JST A nation of irresponsible people will be weak and impoverished. The moment we seperate a nation from the people who make up the state, we become serfs.

Your claim a populace is irresponsible is completely off the mark. What would happen to any nation if they thought as you want them to think and act?

Nations would become Totalitarian/Authoritarian oligarchy bastions of corrupt haves and have-nothings. The nations would turn into fiefdoms worked by slaves known as serfs.

sangetsu03May. 28, 2014 - 11:21AM JST As developed nations increasingly remove the consequences of irresponsible behaviour of irresponsible people, and force the responsible to pay for it, they are becoming weaker, and more impoverished.

Name one nation where it does nothing for the poor that is successful. Put your money where your fingers have taken you. Point out one of these far-right Libertarian utopian states so we can talk about it.

Ayn Rand and her neoliberalism was wrong then and is wrong today.

sangetsu03May. 28, 2014 - 11:21AM JST The widespread encouragement of irresponsibility by removing the consequences one faces for making bad choices, whilst at the same time discouraging those who succeed, is more of what is turning developed countries into heavily indebted, slow-growing nations with increasing income inequality.

Who wants to discourage success? The only ones that want to do this are Communist and their ilk.

Income will never be equal and governments shouldn't be in the business of dictating what the corporations should pay for a fair days work.

In the same breath business' should pay a person a fair wage for a fair days work. This doesn't mean paying someone 1 penny a day for 16 hours work. The only way to make corporations pay a person a decent days wage is by keeping an eye on those corporations.

Unions are the only line of defense against corporate greed and abuses.

Next government regulators should watch corporations to ensure that they don't break any laws.

Living in a world where there are no governments is just another form of Communism, I for one would rather not live in that hell.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Um, this is how insurance works. I also will likely not need unemployment insurance, but I pay it anyway.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Please don't mistake complete arrogance - disdain for the common people for stupidty

Let's face it, being completely arrogant and having disdain for other people is pretty stupid and this is a pretty stupid thing for a finance minister to say.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There you have it folks, the Japanese edition of Dick Cheney kept after leapfrogging to the top of the heart transplant list utilizing years of publicly funded technologies.

The basic motto of these guys is:

I am okay You are not okay I don't give a shytte

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What I don't like is that the fee for National Health Insurance is a maximum of 500,000 yen. So Aso, worth thousands of times more than me, pays the same amount that I do. For him, 500,000 yen is chump change. Yet he complains. So my original comment: typical 1%er tripe.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

they fact that he is a professional politician, which is a problem in itself aside, i agree with him.

why should we give welfare money away for free? that's where the abuses come in. i've seen quite a few news programs where they follow around welfare recipients who go and gamble their checks away on pachinko and horses or who get prescription medicines from a number of pharmacies on welfare and then go sell them on the black market. we should be getting value for our money. people on welfare should perform some public service, however minimal.

my question is, why isn't the government doing something about it? the answer is, that's how they get re-elected, give away money, what professional politicians live for.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Gokai, the limit for the 23 wards of Tokyo is 730,000 per year. I know for a fact it is not 500,000 because I pay more than that.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

well Taro as pencil pusher being paid directly by citizen taxes has no rights to complaint.

That said, people who actually work for living and pay ridiculous amounts, do have legal leg to stand on. The insurance is mandatory and recently was added some old people tax, was proven to be mismanaged and slew of other issues. I really don't understand why wouldnt I be allowed to opt out of national insurance and instead get private medical insurance which would cover me much better incl hospital stay fully compensated and a choice of my doctor ( the really good doctors dont accept national insurance here ) for same or less money... Same goes for the national pension,you should be able to opt out of this draconian extortion and choose your own private investment.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

i've seen quite a few news programs where they follow around welfare recipients who go and gamble their checks away on pachinko and horses or who get prescription medicines from a number of pharmacies on welfare and then go sell them on the black market.

I find that very hard to believe. I tried googling [生活保護 パチンコ」in an attempt to find references to all these TV programmes documenting 'welfare recipients who go and gamble their checks away on pachinko and horses'. I found not a one. In fact all I did find were unsubstantiated rantings on private blogs written by soulmates of Aso plus 1 opinion piece on msn that mentions some OAPs like to have a flutter on the horses now and then, using pensions that they've spent a working life paying into. Are you even in Japan?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I also find it hard to believe considering that you get kicked of Social Welfare for gambling, being arrested and whole lot of other reasons.

You can always opt out of government and go on a private or employer supplied medical aid/pension, I was always on ones supplied by my employer. The law states that you need to be covered but don't force you onto the government one.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

fds

i've seen quite a few news programs where they follow around welfare recipients who go and gamble their checks away on pachinko and horses or who get prescription medicines from a number of pharmacies on welfare and then go sell them on the black market.

lies!

How would they even know who was receiving welfare and who wasn't. The majority of people receiving welfare are the old and single mothers and people earning less than ¥1.5 million pa,

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Absurd. This embarrassment of a human lives (quite well) off taxpayer funds, and yet whines when he has to pay back some of the money he never earned in the first place.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I really don't understand why wouldnt I be allowed to opt out of national insurance and instead get private medical insurance which would cover me much better

You're saying you don't understand the meaning of national insurance. It works because everyone pays in, and those who need it take out. If all those who can afford private medical insurance go their own sweet way, the only people felt paying into the national scheme are those with little or no money. If you're paying in more than you're taking out, it means (1) you are blessed with good health and/or (2) Your income is high enough to raise your premiums above average. Both conditions to be pleased about, not moan about.

There are plenty of private schemes that will gladly give you extra coverage if that's what you want (and if you have no underlying/chronic/congenital/recurring conditions that make you a high risk).

3 ( +5 / -2 )

'I'm 73, going on 74'

His IQ is rising?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It makes for a good soundbite to infer people on benefits are slouches but I would ask him to back up his claim with some evidence.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

cleo, yes exactly , I am just confused why I should be paying for others medical health .. if I prefer to pay my own medical insurance and not be covered by national one , that my choice, I believe we are not part of a communist state are we ? I already pay my share of taxes, thats more than enough of contribution to society .. I don't really understand why I would be needing to add up to crappy doctor salaries and people who go to hospital for social visits...

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

If Aso could speak English, he would probably say;

"I'm alright, Taro!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This guy is my favorite Japanese politician. He always says the darndest things.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

and btw, the current NHI or Employee union insurance payment is comprised of social and medical insurance. I have no issue with payment of the social insurance part, that is a valid society contribution. Medical on the other hand should be something I can choose and the one that fits my preferences.That is how democratic capitalist society should function. If you cant afford high level of medical insurance, you only suppose to pay basic and receive only basic and if you want better coverage - well , work harder and pay more..dont really understand why some neet would be able to receive same amount of medical coverage as a fully functional mid level society member.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Alex.

As I said you can opt out of the NHI and pension scheme, I never was on any national ones. Both me and my wife worked in IT(she on a part-time/contract basis) and we were on the same healtyh scheme that specialises in IT.

When we got the jobs all we had to do was visit the ward office and show proof that we were covered on medical and pension by our companiesin our case.

Medical scheme also owned restaurants where we could eat cheaper, book selected hotel, trips, etc cheaper and even discounts at Disney resorts. Pension scheme was 401k.

The ward doesn't care as long as you are covered and up to date on your payments?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Harsh and mean spirited, generations need to reach out to reverse a declining birth rate. Taro Aso should have promoted the value Japan places on family and social duty,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Who exactly are the voters in Fukuoka's 8th district who have voted for this guy in one election after another since the 1980s? I'm really curious to know, as I think Fukuoka (the city, anyway; don't know the whole prefecture too well) is a great place. Do people there just have so little self-respect that they're resigned to having somebody like Aso represent their district?

I think it's a pretty rural, out-of-the-way area where the Aso family business is a major employer. I suspect that people who work for them get told who to vote for.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Alex Einz, your feelings toward your fellow man are heartwarming.

Japan is more a social democarcy than an outright capitalist nation. For survival of the fittest or wealthiest you would probably be better served in a third world nation with healthcare for the wealthy and charity for the rest. Of course a purely private health insurance system seems fine for the wealthy as long as they maintain the ability to pay, or until a chronic condition comes along.

With almost everyone paying onto the healthcare pot, it makes the system more affordable for individuals. If most opted out it would push up the costs to those left behind. Aso's comments assume all healthcare claimants are slouches and that he takes no money out of the tax system, which of course he does.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"I think it's a pretty rural, out-of-the-way area where the Aso family business is a major employer. I suspect that people who work for them get told who to vote for."

Well, that's quite an endorsement of Japanese democracy. There's no way to predict how you would behave in a hypothetical situation, but if I settled down in Aso's district in Fukuoka Prefecture and became a naturalized citizen of Japan myself, I'd like to think there would be no way in hell I would ever vote for Aso Taro for anything.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Those "slouches" have to pay at least 30% of their medical costs themselves, so Aso's taxes don't cover "all" of their expenses. If he doesn't understand that he shouldn't be finance minister. Then again, the senile, illiterate old fool shouldn't be anywhere but an old people's home.

I don't like that my taxes are wasted on supporting whaling, supporting TEPCO, building useless things etc etc, but I can't do anything about it. Aso can, but won't.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

SwissToni,

Japan, under the farcically named "Liberal Democratic Party" is certainly not liberal and is about as democratic as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I put it in my vote (which is worth NOTHING in spite of my paying taxes to keep someone like Aso Taro in office) to have him removed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Alex EinzMay. 28, 2014 - 06:28PM JST ..dont really understand why some neet would be able to receive same amount of medical coverage as a fully functional mid level society member.

Because they both have the same human value.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The fact that he CAN continue to utter such nonsense every friggin time is beyond me. This is not the first time and he knows nobody isn't gonna do anything about it.

refresh your mind: http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/aso-says-elderly-should-be-allowed-to-hurry-up-and-die

http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/asos-gaffe-exposes-japanese-ignorance-of-jews

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ITSme , no what u did was going from national to union one , I am on it too, its still mandatory and semi private although a bit better than the national one..., I am specifically talking about fully private medical insurance.

Selchuk, no they dont have same human value..someone sitting at home and not contributing to society does not have same human or social value, hence deserves less resources spent on

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

BertieWooster, Japan is certainly more socially responsible than Mr Aso. But sadly becoming less so. Like many other developed economies Japan has to wrestle with widening inequality and an political class that is out of touch with its own people. Mr Aso makes a fine example.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Bull pocky just keeps coming out of his mouth. Can't anyone shut him up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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