“They’re hobbling around and constantly going to the doctor,” Prime Minister Taro Aso was quoted as saying in a transcript of a Nov. 20 meeting of ministers on economic policies.
“I am paying taxes. Why should I pay money for those who lazily drink and eat and do nothing?” he said.
The transcript was released overnight, drawing immediate criticism in the Japanese media and forcing an apology from the prime minister Thursday.
“I apologize if the remarks offended people who are suffering illnesses,” Aso said on nationally televised news.
He has already had to apologize for joking about people with Alzheimer’s disease, saying the ideal country would be one that attracts “the richest Jewish people,” and comparing the opposition Democratic Party of Japan to the Nazis.
As foreign minister, Aso raised ire in Asia by reportedly crediting Japan’s brutal colonial rule before World War II as raising Taiwan’s literacy and educational levels, hinting his nation had done Taiwan a favor.
Japan leader irks public with insensitive remark (Associated Press,Yahoo)
Aso apologizes for remarks about the costly medical bills of lazy old people (Japan Probe)