Japan Appoints Minister Of Loneliness To Tackle Social Isolation In The Country
By Izza Sofia, 23 Feb 2021
Image via Shutterstock
Due to a recent rise in suicide rates, the Japanese prime minister has appointed a Minister of Loneliness in his cabinet to tackle the issue.
Prime minister Yoshihide Suga created the role in early February, per The Japan Times. The role was given to Tetsushi Sakamoto, who is already the minister in charge of dealing with Japan’s declining birthrate and promoting regional revitalization.
According to the BBC, a growing number of people in the Japanese population, especially women, have been struggling with depression ever since the coronavirus pandemic hit the nation. The country saw 880 female suicide victims last October, a 70-percent jump from the year before.
In a meeting early this month, Suga said that women have been feeling more isolated during this period, which has led to an increase in suicide rates, per Nikkei Asia.
Sakamoto hopes to implement “activities that prevent loneliness and social isolation and protect the ties between people.” He has also worked on coordinating government agencies and established an emergency forum to discuss issues.
Japanese suicide expert Michiko Ueda told the BBC that the high number of suicides could be due to the increasing number of single women who do not own stable jobs.
“A lot of women are not married anymore,” she said. “They have to support their own lives and they don’t have permanent jobs. So when something happens, of course, they are hit very, very hard.”
According to Manjo Shimahara, head of a firm called think thank, Japanese millennials turn to their work environments as their source of socialization. Because most of them live alone, home is usually only a place to sleep in, Shimahara claimed.
“The coronavirus pandemic has driven home to many singles the reality of how they don’t know anyone in their neighborhoods or have any local bars they can call their stomping grounds,” Shimahara added.
After more than a decade of progress in lowering suicide rates, Japan saw its first uptick in 2020.— TRT World (@trtworld) February 23, 2021
To tackle the growing mental health crisis, the government has appointed a Minister of Loneliness, to provide support networks for those suffering from social isolation pic.twitter.com/NYk28JKw9D
[via New York Post, cover image via Shutterstock]
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