‘Minister of Loneliness’ Appointed In Japan amid Increasing Suicide Ratio during COVID-19 Crisis
A Separate Ministry Has Been Developed By the Government to Tackle the Escalating Issue of Self Inflicted Deaths
The government of Japan has given the task of addressing various concerns regarding a rapidly escalating the amount of social isolation among the general population of the country to the cabinet minister, as the issue has recently been linked with the increase of ratio for suicidal attempts. To counter this issue, a minister of loneliness has been appointed who could solely work on this task for preventing further escalation and complication of the issue.
Ministry of loneliness
The Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga has made a public announcement on Friday which states that Tetsushi Sakamoto has been appointed as the minister of loneliness of Japan and will now onwards keep his efforts in overseeing and addressing the issue of social isolation and loneliness. Sakamoto has already been working on the project for regional revitalization along with revising the declining birth rate of the country.
Prime Minister Suga told Sakamoto while in a conference meeting during which he also outlined the new responsibilities for the minister of loneliness that the women population across the country has suffered from social isolation more than men during the coronavirus pandemic, due to which the amount of the suicides during this time is on a rising trend. Prime Minister also advised the minister of loneliness to identify the arising problems and also to promote alongside the police measures in a comprehensive way.
The newly appointed minister of loneliness Sakamoto has told the public during the press conference that he wants to use his newly allotted position to limit and prevent the amount of social isolation and loneliness along with protection of ties between the general populations.
During the meeting, the minister of loneliness also noted that the coronavirus pandemic had affected the entire country in the past year in various aspects, including reducing the number of opportunities for the people to contact each other, which has consequently lead to a serious issue of societal problems.
The minister of loneliness is said to coordinate with several agencies that have been developed to address such issues, including prevention of possible suicides, care of elderly people, and poverty in children. This initiative by the minister of loneliness is an attempt to create a thorough strategy to fight against this growing problem throughout the country of Japan.
A forum has been scheduled to be held in the last week of the month of February, during which the minister of loneliness would hear different opinions from experts in this field regarding the steps that should be taken to help those individuals that are suffering from loneliness and isolation across the country.
The rate of suicides across Japan has seen a declining ratio over the past ten years, but during the last year, when the country suffered from the economic recession due to the coronavirus pandemic, Japan observed a sudden rise in the number of individuals that took their own lives.
Suicide rates in Japan
According to the preliminary data collected by the ministry of health over the past year, it has been observed that around 20,919 individuals have reportedly died after a suicidal attempt in the year 2020 amid the COVID-19 infection spread throughout the region, which is more than 3.7 percent increase from the year 2019. In the same time duration, more than 3,459 individuals have been reported dead due to the coronavirus infection throughout the country of Japan.
According to the recently collected data, the suicide rate for females in Japan has observed an increase by 14.5 %, which the complete amount reached 6,976, which is the highest amount in the past five years. Meanwhile, the male suicide rate has dropped 1 % to the number of 13,943 for the past 11 consecutive years.
Japan is not the first country across the world to have appointed a minister of loneliness to tackle the numerous issues that surround the concept of loneliness. In response to a report that has found evidence to suggest that millions of individuals residing in Britain are suffering from loneliness.
In the year 2018, the government of England has expanded the responsibilities of the Minister of sports and civil society with the addition of responsibilities surrounding a minister of loneliness and officially changing the name of the position to the Minister of Sports, Civil Society and Loneliness.