The Japanese prime minister (Yoshihide Suga) has appointed a “Minister of loneliness” (Tet sushi Sakamoto). Since February 12, 2021, he serves as the minister of Loneliness to his cabinet in response to a rise in suicides. He is also a member of the House of Representatives as well as representing the Liberal Democratic Party.
As you may not know, Japan is not the first country to appoint a “Minister of loneliness “. In 2018, UK appointed the first minister of loneliness. It seems that the role of Minister of loneliness might be understandably undesirable. Up to now, UK has gone through three loneliness ministers.
A rise in suicides during the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic 2020, makes loneliness and social isolation in Japan. Loneliness and social isolation is a serious problem. This is the first time where the suicide rate in the country increase in 11 years. With the number shows especially young people and women. Women are suffering more than men and the number of suicide trends is rising. In October, 879 women died by suicide which is 70 percent more than the same month of 2019.
In October only, 2,153 suicide deaths were reported. The suicide death is extremely more than the total number of COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic which at the total number of deaths total 1,765. (As of February 22, currently, a total of 7,506 total coronavirus deaths were reported).
The national policy Agency showed that in 2020, around 20,919 people committed suicide. From the previous year, 750 people increase and this is the first consecutive rise of suicide in the 11 years.
New Loneliness Minister Task:
Japan’s newly appointed minister of loneliness has the task of helping the nation’s citizens tackle the loneliness problem and combat feelings. As you may feel, how the COVID-19 pandemic brings loneliness and social isolation to people. As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 Pandemic. The main target is to find ways to reduce loneliness and isolation. Loneliness may cause a higher risk of health issues such as heart disease, dementia, and eating disorders.
Many single women live alone in japan and few of them have stable jobs but they have to support their own lives. So if something happened of course a lot of unmarried women hit very hard.
A newly appointed Loneliness minister plans to hold an emergency forum, hear the people’s concerns and deal with loneliness and isolation in late February.
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