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Japan rethinks right to "die with dignity"

Sunday, March 06, 2016 - 01:16

Ageing, indebted Japan rethinks right to ''die with dignity''. Julie Noce reports.

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Tarou Tanzawa looks at pictures of his late mother who died of malignant lymphoma. She died peacefully at a nursing home after deciding against life-prolonging treatments. Her death prompted Tanzawa, now 68, to make his own living will. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) DIRECTOR OF JAPAN SOCIETY FOR DYING WITH DIGNITY, TAROU TANZAWA, SAYING: "My mother died in a dignified way, and that made me think, there is a way to die peacefully. My mother taught me a lot, but in the end she taught me the most important lesson." Traditionally, Japanese families have felt obligated to care for elderly relatives for fear of being accused of callous abandonment. But due to a rapidly ageing society and high medical costs, this is starting to change. The Japan Society for Dying with Dignity created a promotional video to help spread the word. Japan currently has no laws regarding living wills. Representatives of disability groups have blocked legislation that would protect doctors who withhold life-prolonging care with the patients consent for fear it would be a step towards legalised euthanasia.

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Japan rethinks right to "die with dignity"

Sunday, March 06, 2016 - 01:16