Viktor Badaker

They say the maturity of a society can be measured by the way that society takes care of its most vulnerable, i.e. children and the elderly. The respect that we pay to those we have an advantage over is an indicator of high moral values, and a golden rule of all civilized societies.

4 thoughts on “Viktor Badaker

  1. shinichi Post author

    UN Special (2017 October)

    https://www.unspecial.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/UNSpecial_October2017-web.pdf

    UN Special

    https://www.unspecial.org/


    (p. 38)

    Obasute: the golden rule of civilized society begins with each of us

    by Viktor Badaker, ECE


    They say the maturity of a society can be measured by the way that society takes care of its most vulnerable, i.e. children and the elderly. The respect that we pay to those we have an advantage over is an indicator of high moral values, and a golden rule of all civilized societies.


    In this context, a parallel comes to my mind – surely the way the Organization takes care of its long-standing and most devoted staff, who worked for it for decades (20 or 30 years), should be an indicator of the maturity of the moral values of the Organization?

    Do we really take due care of our retired people, or do we just wait for them to go so we can open another vacancy? Is it as simple as that? The very moment they are gone, we cross them off our lists with no regret because they “got their generous retirement package” and thus should feel happy and privileged. But what about the moral aspect? Doesn’t it have any meaning anymore? Incidentally, we are all future retirees. Even those young people of today, those who might be at the origin of some recently made decisions, they will also be retirees at some point. If not tomorrow, the day after. And when that day comes, they will feel the very same bitterness that some of the current retirees are filled with when visiting the Palais. The Palais where nobody is actually waiting for them; where they do not even have their own place to meet; where, if in need, they have to “beg” their younger colleagues for help, even with such miniscule issues as copying their medical insurance documents; and where, according to the new regulations, they will not even be able to come in by car, unless they wait in a long queue and obtain a daily pass like all other “strangers” attempting to enter the UN premises.

    I would not believe all these sad stories if this had not happened to my former boss, who, after having served the Organizations for around 25 years, was not allowed last week to pass through the gate by car. As we know, Geneva is a costly place and, as such, forces many retirees to live outside the town. However, the retirees do still visit the Palais on certain occasions. They come here to attend various events, or to run errands (e.g. related to medical or social security matters). For them, the ability to enter the premises is more important than for many of us. They do not visit the Palais often, and yet it seems that even on those rare occasions when they actually do, it is still too much for the Organization to grant them a permanent entry badge for their vehicles. In blunt disrespect of their previous work and accomplishments, the UN, in accordance with the new parking rules, forces them to either pay for expensive parking outside, or to queue in a long line and go through a humiliating procedure each and every time they “dare” to come where they apparently do not belong anymore. They worked for the Organizations for years, decades, or in certain cases even their whole life. They deserve to be properly treated. This is a minimum courtesy that we owe them.

    Furthermore, in view of the current giant reconstruction, I truly hope that it will be possible to allocate an office (with a PC, Wi-Fi, a printer and a copying machine) where all retirees arriving at the Palais, whether from Geneva or from elsewhere, cannot only meet, but also print a page, or make a photocopy without being subject to humiliation.

    I do hope that my article will be the first in a series on how well we take care of the staff who contributed to the Organization by working for it for many years. And I do hope, that at least, this article will resolve the parking space problem for our older colleagues. I also appeal to all those who are involved in drawing up the new regulations (on parking policy, on rules of entry, etc.), to not forget the golden rule – the way we treat and care for our elderly staff (retirees) shows our own maturity.

    Being raised in Kazakhstan where older people have been always treated with unprecedented respect, I would never accept any consideration of retirees as “waste material”. To those who write and sign the rules that create problems for retirees, I would advise watching an old movie “The Ballad of Narayama”. It is a Japanese film from 1958, directed by Keisuke Kinoshita, and based on the 1956 novel of the same title by Shichiro Fukazawa. The film explores the legendary practice of obasute, a brutal tradition in accordance with which, elderly people (once they reach a certain age) were carried to a mountain and abandoned to die.

    I just hope that new parking rules are not a new example of obasute, but rather a mistake, which will be corrected soon.

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  2. shinichi Post author

    Japan’s finance minister tells elderly they should ‘hurry up and die’ to help reduce country’s rising welfare bill

    by Tjebbe van Tijen Suivre

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/7141213@N04/8406981535

    JAPANESE MINISTER OF FINANCE TARO ASO (麻生 太郎 – 1940-) IN A NEW RENDERING OF THE CLASSIC TALE ABOUT UBASUTE.

    “Japan’s finance minister tells elderly they should ‘hurry up and die’ to help reduce country’s rising welfare bill Comments made by Japan’s finance and deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso.


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  3. shinichi Post author

    Let elderly people ‘hurry up and die’, says Japanese minister

    Taro Aso says he would refuse end-of-life care and would ‘feel bad’ knowing treatment was paid for by government

    The Guardian

    (22 January 2013)

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/22/elderly-hurry-up-die-japanese

    Japan’s new government is barely a month old, and already one of its most senior members has insulted tens of millions of voters by suggesting that the elderly are an unnecessary drain on the country’s finances.

    Taro Aso, the finance minister, said on Monday that the elderly should be allowed to “hurry up and die” to relieve pressure on the state to pay for their medical care.

    “Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government,” he said during a meeting of the national council on social security reforms. “The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”

    Aso’s comments are likely to cause offence in Japan, where almost a quarter of the 128 million population is aged over 60. The proportion is forecast to rise to 40% over the next 50 years.

    The remarks are also an unwelcome distraction for the new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, whose first period as Japan’s leader ended with his resignation after just a year, in 2007, partly due to a string of gaffes by members of his cabinet.

    Rising welfare costs, particularly for the elderly, were behind a decision last year to double consumption [sales] tax to 10% over the next three years, a move Aso’s Liberal Democratic party supported.

    The 72-year-old, who doubles as deputy prime minister, said he would refuse end-of-life care. “I don’t need that kind of care,” he said in comments quoted by local media, adding that he had written a note instructing his family to deny him life-prolonging medical treatment.

    To compound the insult, he referred to elderly patients who are no longer able to feed themselves as “tube people”. The health and welfare ministry, he added, was “well aware that it costs several tens of millions of yen” a month to treat a single patient in the final stages of life.

    Cost aside, caring for the elderly is a major challenge for Japan’s stretched social services. According to a report this week, the number of households receiving welfare, which include family members aged 65 or over, stood at more than 678,000, or about 40% of the total. The country is also tackling a rise in the number of people who die alone, most of whom are elderly. In 2010, 4.6 million elderly people lived alone, and the number who died at home soared 61% between 2003 and 2010, from 1,364 to 2,194, according to the bureau of social welfare and public health in Tokyo.

    The government is planning to reduce welfare expenditure in its next budget, due to go into force this April, with details of the cuts expected within days.

    Aso, who has a propensity for verbal blunders, later attempted to clarify his comments. He acknowledged his language had been “inappropriate” in a public forum and insisted he was talking only about his personal preference.

    “I said what I personally believe, not what the end-of-life medical care system should be,” he told reporters. “It is important that you be able spend the final days of your life peacefully.”

    It is not the first time Aso, one of Japan’s wealthiest politicians, has questioned the state’s duty towards its large elderly population. In 2008, while serving as prime minister, he described “doddering” pensioners as tax burdens who should take better care of their health.

    “I see people aged 67 or 68 at class reunions who dodder around and are constantly going to the doctor,” he said at a meeting of economists. “Why should I have to pay for people who just eat and drink and make no effort? I walk every day and do other things, but I’m paying more in taxes.”

    He had already angered the country’s doctors by telling them they lacked common sense, made a joke about Alzheimer’s patients, and pronounced “penniless young men” unfit for marriage.

    In 2001, he said he wanted Japan to become the kind of successful country in which “the richest Jews would want to live”.

    He once likened an opposition party to the Nazis, praised Japan’s colonial rule in Taiwan and, as foreign minister, told US diplomats they would never be trusted in Middle East peace negotiations because they have “blue eyes and blond hair”.

    While figures released on Monday showed a record 2.14 million Japanese were receiving welfare in October 2012, Aso has led a life of privilege few of his compatriots could hope to match.

    He is the grandson of Shigeru Yoshida, an influential postwar prime minister, and is married to the daughter of another former premier.

    While campaigning for the premiership in 2008, Aso refused to acknowledge the use of hundreds of allied prisoners of war by his family’s coal mining business during the second world war. He served as president of the firm’s successor, Aso Cement, from 1973-79.

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  4. shinichi Post author

    「姥捨て」題材コラージュに麻生氏の顔写真 国連公認誌

    朝日新聞

    (2017年11月18日)

    http://www.asahi.com/articles/photo/AS20171118000067.html

     国連公認の月刊誌「UNスペシャル」10月号に、老人を山に捨てる「うば捨て」を題材にしたコラージュが掲載された際、麻生太郎副総理兼財務相の顔写真が用いられていた。在ジュネーブ日本政府代表部が「我が国の要人に関して不適切だ」と申し入れ、編集部はPDF版の写真を差し替えた。

     この雑誌は英語と仏語で記され、編集部はスイス・ジュネーブの国連欧州本部にある。「ジュネーブにおける国連と世界保健機関(WHO)の国際公務員の公式雑誌」とされ、公称1万500部。国連関係者や各国政府代表部などに配布されるほか、ネット上にPDF版を掲載している。

     問題のコラージュは、カザフスタン出身の国連職員が執筆した「オバステ」という英文記事に添えられていた。記事は長年勤めた元職員の待遇について触れ、1958年の木下恵介監督の映画「楢山節考」で描かれたうば捨てのようにならないように、と警鐘を鳴らしたものだった。

     コラージュには日本語で「麻生太郎 姥(うば)捨て」と記されていた。ネット上の素材を転載したものとみられ、作者や意図、作成時期は確認されていない。

     編集部関係者は、日本語のわからない外注のデザイン担当者が無作為に採用したもので、意味も知らなかったと説明。麻生氏が日本の元首相ということも認識していなかったという。日本政府代表部の申し入れを受けた後、PDF版について、コラージュを1983年の「楢山節考」(今村昌平監督、緒形拳主演)の画像に差し替えた。(ジュネーブ=松尾一郎)

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