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Plan 75

by Marie-José Gijsberts

The development of the movie

Chie Hayakawa (born 1976 in Tokyo) is a Japanese film director and writer. Her latest film, “Plan 75,” won a special distinction at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022.

When she was developing the screenplay for this film, she decided to test out her first ideas on friends and acquaintances of her mother. Her question for them was: If the government sponsored a euthanasia program for people 75 and over, would you consent to it? She found that most of them were very positive about it, because "they did not want to be a burden to heir children, or other people".

This sense of not being a burden is in Japanese culture one of the driving motives for end of life choices, I found during a collaborative seminar in Kyoto Japan earlier this year.

In the movie the main character is followed during her application for a governmental program called Plan 75 that offers free euthanasia services to all Japanese citizens of 75 and older. Although the plan is voluntary, personal circumstances of people that apply for it are not as voluntary and clean cut as the shiny advertisements of Plan 75 make us believe.

Ethical considerations

As the main characters that apply for the plan 75 option and move through the Plan 75 system, their storylines interact with those of Plan 75 employees, each facing unique moral dilemma’s related to their work, such as a Plan 75 bureaucrat whose apathy is challenged when his uncle applies for the program, or a Filipino immigrant who takes on a taboo job in order to pay for her daughter’s heart surgery. Also, the underlying motive of the main character (not wanting to become a burden to anyone when her life’s circumstances deteriorate) questions the voluntariness of her decision.

My personal experience [1]

I spoke to many people who saw the movie, all had very different personal experiences. For me, although the theme of the film was quite grim, I found the movie to be a hopeful experience of the human condition: the unwavering dignity of the main character throughout the movie, as well as the unfolding warmth in the connection between several characters, both applicants and employees of Plan 75, thus questioning and disrupting the cold efficiency of a system like Plan 75.


[1Marie-José Gijsberts, MD PhD is a palliative care physician, visiting professor End-of-Life Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Universiteit Gent. Laarbeeklaan 103, 1090 Brussel www.endoflifecare.be/marie-josé-gijsberts



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Message from Lucía Amatriain  » 19 September 2023 » lu.amatr@gmail.com 

How interesting the proposal of the film and your reading! Allowing autonomy makes it possible to display the reasons that each person maintains for their decision. And with this, respect their dignity. In this sense, I agree that this is a hopeful perspective that needs to be explored.

Film:Plan 75

Original Title:Plan 75

Director: Chie Hayakawa

Year: 2022

Country: Japan

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