Japan appoints Minister of Loneliness to tackle suicide

Friday, 26 February 2021 - 21:21

In a bid to tackle the rise in suicide rates for the first time in 11 years due to the coronavirus crisis, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto as its first-ever Minister for Loneliness.

Following Britain's lead, Japanese government created an isolation/ loneliness countermeasures office in its cabinet on February 19 to counter issues like suicide and child poverty.

Sakamoto said in his inaugural press conference that Prime Minister Suga has appointed him to address matters of national importance "including the issue of increasing women's suicide rate under the pandemic."

He added, " I hope to carry out activities to prevent social loneliness and isolation and to protect ties between people."

According to Japanese suicide expert Michiko Ueda, "A lot of women are not married. 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."


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