Government program Plan 75 encourages senior citizens to be euthanized to remedy an aged society. The film centers on three people: an elderly woman whose means of survival are vanishing, a pragmatic Plan 75 salesman, and a Filipino laborer. They all face choices of life and death.
The film Plan 75, the official entry for Japan, begins with a young man committing a horrific killing in a care home. He states that the elderly surely don’t wish to be a blight on the younger generation. The premise of this film is similar to an incident in 2016, where a man who used to work at a care home for the disabled ended up murdering 19 people. The man claimed that he found the disabled, and elderly, to be a burden on society.
Furthermore, Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world at 85 years old. Not only that but in the list of the verified oldest people in the world, Japan has the most spots in the top 10 list.
In this alternative Japan, the government has thus approved a program called Plan 75 where anyone over the age of 75 can euthanize themselves to better the country. The people who volunteer for this program will receive $1,000,000 Yen (roughly $7,000 USD) as a gift, along with several plans like a free of charge burial if you’re cremated as a group.
The Japanese after all have a long, proud history of sacrificing themselves to benefit the country, according to this new Japan.
Chie Hayakawa has masterfully directed a film focusing on this idea. Chieko Baisho is a revelation in this film, as a 78 year old woman who needs to decide whether to continue her life, while struggling to make ends meet, or to sign up to the program. Her presence is extraordinary every time she’s on the screen. The pain and despair in her eyes. The wanting to continue to live but the feeling that life has become too much. The choice of dying with dignity, or not.
Humans have no choice about whether to be born but should we be able to choose when to die? Should people be able to decide when to leave this world on their own terms? After all, we’re all alone in life. But the tricky part is that society will never allow it to be a true free choice. Employees are trained to ensure that participants won’t quit along the way. They are trained to give the “clients” the courage to make their final journey in peace without any lasting regrets. Nobody wants to die for the fun of it. And as the Plan 75 slogan states: “We’re there for you until the end.” If only that was the case.