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To read the original novel:
This is NOT an official English translation.
Translated by Sayuri (Flower Moon Translations)
Second Night: Maneuvering
* * *
※ This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person or organization that you may know is purely coincidental.
Moreover, there is no intention to promote human discrimination at all.
The morning light filtered through the gap in between the curtains.
n.o.buki woke up earlier than usual.
As he came to, perhaps he might have moved towards the bed or something, n.o.buhiko realized he had slept in his own bed as he rubbed his eyes.
He remembered falling asleep at his study desk but he had no recollection of walking towards the bed. He was thinking how convenient it was that he had a body that could automatically move towards the bed, when Mitsuko entered the room.
“n.o.bu-kun, you slept in that state, right? I’ve warmed up the bath so go and enter as you are.”
Once n.o.buhiko got out of bed, he entered the bath right away.
As expected, entering the bath first thing in the morning feels good.
I’m grateful that I was born j.a.panese.
While thinking of such thoughts, he submerged himself in the bathtub heartily.
After he got out of the bath, breakfast was prepared. It was an environment that he was grateful for yet he realized that he hadn’t been saying ‘thank you’ these days.
“Um, as always…”
At that moment, the sound of a newsflash came from the television.============================== 10/12, “Unmanaged Elderly Migration Law” is established.
With an ominous sound, the captions that n.o.buhiko could not comprehend fade out of view.
Was it another law created by a politician that he just couldn’t comprehend well? If that was the case, Ishida Yuri also mentioned something about this, didn’t she?
The caption caught both n.o.buhiko and Mitsuko’s attention but n.o.buhiko wasn’t bothered with it and started to speak with Mitsuko.
But, Mitsuko continued looking at the scene in the television looking dumbfounded.
“H, hurry up and eat your breakfast! You’re going to be late!”
While a lingering discomfort settled in his heart, n.o.buhiko quickly ate his breakfast and rushed out of the house.
◇ ◇ ◇
When n.o.buhiko arrived at school, the people in his cla.s.sroom were making a racket.
“For real! To think that they’re going through with this Unmanaged Elderly Migration Law…….”
“My family… I wonder if they’re okay?”
“Your family should be fine, shouldn’t it? Your grandma has money, right…….?”
Unmanaged Elderly Migration Law……?
This morning’s news……?
n.o.buhiko thought it was weird that these guys who had no interest in politics or economics were making such a big fuss about it.
“Hey, what is this un, unmanaged elderly migration law about?”
n.o.buhiko asked his friend from middle school, Hasegawa Kenta, who was beside him.
“You… you don’t know about it?”
Kenta showed a surprised expression at the question n.o.buhiko gave.
“Don’t you watch the daily news?”
“Come on, you know that I’m in the soccer club so after coming home I end up sleeping immediately. I don’t have time for the news or anything, you know……”
“This country is over. O.V.E.R.”
Sugiuchi Ryousuke suddenly came into their conversation.
He was a guy that competes for the top place against a genius called Kinjou Mitsuru.
“Wh, what do you mean?”
Sweat was dripping from n.o.buhiko’s forehead.
“Even though you’re an idiot, I’ll explain it to you so you can understand. The population in this country is around 98 million people. Several years ago, there was an uproar over the population falling below 100 million, wasn’t there? Depopulation. Well, the problem wasn’t in that aspect. You must have learned social studies in middle school, right? ‘The Aging Society’. It’s a society with a population that consists of 1/4 of old people over the age of 65. With our advanced medical technology and economic growth, us j.a.panese would naturally have a long life. The outcome now, half the citizens are the elderly. As it is called, ‘The Over-Aging Society’.”
n.o.buhiko slowly gulped.
“On the other hand, the medical treatment, nursing, and the likes that they utilize affects the various social security expenses. This country’s debt has grown enormous. There would be no problem if there was labor work to support the elderly. But, in reality? We’re declining in birth rates. The workforce is gradually decreasing. Then, that leads us to depopulation. This country has conducted many measures to increase the number of children. ‘Distribution of Money for Childcare Support’, ‘Preferential Treatment on Tax Law for Families With Children’. But everything was a failure. It seems that economics couldn’t compensate for the desire to have children in one’s own family.
“Well, then, here’s a quiz for you! The j.a.panese government that worked hard to increase the workforce, gives up on you people. What will they carry out next?”
“……?! Eh! W, what?! I don’t understand!”
“You’re really stupid, aren’t you? The answer is decreasing the number of elderly.”
“Decrease…… the elderly? B, but how would they……?”
“The Unmanaged Elderly Migration Law…… Or I would call it, The Ubasute Law. Do you know about the Ubasute Mountain? In the olden days, in j.a.pan, a large number of people suffered from a famine. A village at that time made up a law. To protect their food supply, they decided to drive away those who did not work, away from the village…… Of course among the targets chosen were the elderly who had bad legs or a bad back. They abandoned their own parents at a snowy mountain located nearby the village. That is why that mountain was called the Ubasute Mountain. The government had developed a big project while the government pa.s.sed the law through the National Diet. From the north in Hokkaido to the south in Okinawa, they built 10-kilograms worth of humongous, enclosed walls in 9 areas. I was told that the height reached 10 meters. Although the area within the humongous walls is a part of j.a.pan, those areas are unmanaged sections…… In other words, they have declared it as a lawless district. Moreover, those districts…… you should understand it by now, right? The citizens that get migrated by force, their destination are those districts as decided by the law.”
“First, they must be above 65 years old. Second, if they can’t pay the tax 1.5 times the normal amount, or if they aren’t able to pay the special tax for elderly on a monthly basis. In the case that they meet these two conditions, they will be forced to get migrated. This is the Ubasute law.”
Ryousuke nudged his gla.s.ses up with his index finger.
“We can’t let some, something like that just go by, can we? What’s with this Ubasute Mountain?! What bulsh*t! I can’t believe this!!”
“Also, if I’m not mistaken, your household……”
“If it’s my household, it’ll be fine! Grandma has money! If not, it’s okay if I earn the money.”
“You can’t do that. This law is a law that antic.i.p.ates the decline of the workforce after all. The government antic.i.p.ated that they may end up going around in circles so they made it so the person has to pay himself. In other words, you can’t give support. And…shall I tell you of something even more frightening?”
“W, what is it?”
“The forced emigration zone for Tokyo is number nine. Its nickname is ‘Sector 9‘. This zone is located among the creases of mountains in Nagano prefecture. If you’re forced to migrate during this season, you’ll surely freeze up and die.”
At that moment, the door to the cla.s.sroom opened with force.
“Get to your seats–!”
Isozaki, the homeroom teacher, came in.
Because he was a sports-oriented and enthusiastic teacher who was also troublesome, everyone quickly returned to their seats.
n.o.buhiko also returned to his seat while the feelings in his chest were still in disarray.
And after this ……
n.o.buhiko will get into contact with a guy who will greatly change his own destiny.