The New York Times faced backlash after publishing an article about a controversial Yale University professor who suggested "mass suicide" or "mass seppuku" is the "only solution" to the burdens of Japan's aging society, Fox News Digital reported.
On Sunday, the New York Times released a piece titled "A Yale Professor Suggested Mass Suicide for Old People in Japan. What Did He Mean?"
Yusuke Narita is a 37-year-old assistant professor of economics at Yale who researches computerized algorithms used in education and health care policy.
"I feel like the only solution is pretty clear," Narita stated during a news interview in 2021. "In the end, isn't it mass suicide and mass 'seppuku' of the elderly?"
Seppuku is an act of ritualistic suicide by disembowelment, which originated in the 19th century. It was often performed as punishment for dishonored samurai warriors.
Narita previously noted that the "possibility of making [euthanasia] mandatory in the future" would "come up in discussion."
According to the Yale professor, his statements on mass suicide had been "taken out of context" and were meant as "an abstract metaphor," the Times reported.
Narita insisted that he was attempting to address how to remove the greatest number of elderly people from leadership positions to make room for younger generations.
The professor told the Times he was "primarily concerned with the phenomenon in Japan, where the same tycoons continue to dominate the worlds of politics, traditional industries, and media/entertainment/journalism for many years."
Narita noted that he "should have been more careful about their potential negative connotations."
"After some self-reflection, I stopped using the words last year," he added, referring to "mass suicide" and "seppuku."
However, Narita's critics argue that his "irresponsible" remarks have sparked dangerous ideas.
Newsweek Japan columnist Masato Fujisaki stated that Narita's comments "should not be easily taken as a 'metaphor'" because his fans "think that old people should just die already and social welfare should be cut."
Twitter users torched Narita and the Times for promoting the suggestion that euthanasia may solve societal problems.
Stephen Miller, a contributing editor for the Spectator, posted on social media, "American press is rapidly on their way to endorsing Canada's euthanasia health care policy. 'What if we tried X' is how this always starts."
Pete St. Onge, Heritage Foundation economist, tweeted, "I'm starting to think professors are the absolute worst people who should be shaping young peoples' minds."
In response to the Times' article, comedian Ricky Gervais wrote, "I'd like a second opinion."
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