Finance Minister Taro Aso said Monday it’s unfair that his taxes go toward financing the health costs of lazy people.
“I’m 73, going on 74, and I’ve never had a long stay in hospital,” Aso said to an Upper House committee, responding to a question about the social welfare system.
“It’s not fair that the tax I pay covers all the medical expenses of slouches,” he said, adding that he recognizes some people are born with poor health.
Aso’s comments come as the government seeks to rein in welfare costs to tame the world’s largest debt burden as part of Prime Minster Shinzo Abe’s efforts to revive the economy.
Aso has triggered controversy with public remarks in the past. Last August, he backpedaled when pressed on remarks about the Nazi regime offering a model for constitutional reform, saying he was misunderstood.
That January, he appeared to question the use of medical resources to prolong the lives of the elderly.