Japan appoints ‘Minister of Loneliness’ after suicide rates increase for first time in 11 years

Japan appoints ‘Minister of Loneliness’ after suicide rates increase for first time in 11 years
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Tribune Web Desk

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Chandigarh, February 23

Japan has appointed a (*11*) to take try to scale back loneliness and social isolation amongst its residents.

The choice has been taken by the federal government because the nation is now coping with rising suicide rates, Tomohiro Osaki reported for the Japan Times, Insider reported.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, earlier this month, appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto because the Minister of Loneliness to sort out the rising suicide rates for the first time in 11 years.

Sakamoto is already a minister in cost of coping with Japan’s declining birthrate and selling regional revitalisation, and can now additionally oversee authorities insurance policies to cope with loneliness and isolation.

“Women are suffering from isolation more (than men are), and the number of suicides is on a rising trend,” Suga informed Sakamoto on a February 12 information convention saying the brand new position, based on the Japan Times.

“I hope you will identify problems and promote policy measures comprehensively,” Sugo mentioned whereas appointing Sakamoto because the Minister of Loneliness.

Loneliness has lengthy been a problem in Japan, typically mentioned alongside “hikikomori,” or individuals who stay in excessive social isolation. People have labored to create far-ranging options to this subject: Engineers in Japan beforehand designed a robotic to maintain somebody’s hand after they’re lonely and one man expenses individuals to “do nothing” besides maintain them firm.

An increase in suicides through the pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with individuals extra socially remoted than ever, Japan noticed an increase in suicides for the first time in 11 years.

In October, extra individuals died from suicide than had died from COVID-19 in Japan in all of 2020. There have been 2,153 suicide deaths that month and 1,765 complete virus deaths as much as the tip of October 2020, per the Japanese National Police Agency, the Insider additional reported. 

Studies present that loneliness has been linked to a better threat of well being points like coronary heart illness, dementia, and consuming issues.

Women in Japan, in explicit, have contributed to the uptick in suicides. In October, 879 girls died by suicide in Japan — a 70 per cent increase in comparison with the identical month in 2019.

More and extra single girls stay alone in Japan however many of them don’t have steady employment, Michiko Ueda, a Japanese professor who research suicide in Japan, informed the BBC final week.

“A lot of women are not married anymore,” Ueda mentioned, including: “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.”

Japan’s new Loneliness Minister mentioned he deliberate to carry an emergency discussion board in late February to listen to considerations from individuals coping with loneliness and isolation.

“I hope to carry out activities to prevent social loneliness and isolation and to protect ties between people,” Sakamoto mentioned on the February 12 information convention.

The United Kingdom was the first nation to nominate a loneliness minister in 2018, after a 2017 report discovered that greater than 9 million individuals in the UK mentioned they typically or at all times felt lonely. But the position appears to not be a very fascinating one, because the UK has gone via three loneliness ministers in three years. Australia has thought of creating an identical place.

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