Japan appointed its Prime Minister for Solitude this month after the country’s suicide rate rose for the first time in 11 years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The Japan Times, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga added a minister of loneliness to his cabinet earlier this month, like the United Kingdom, which in 2018 became the first country to create a similar role.
Yoshihide Suga appealed to Minister Tetsushi Sakamoto, also responsible for tackling the fall in the birth rate and revitalizing regional economies, for the new portfolio.
At his inaugural press conference, Mr Sakamoto said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had appointed him to deal with national issues “including the issue of increasing female suicide rate under the pandemic,” according to TBEN .
“(Japanese Prime Minister) Suga instructed me to look into the matter and come up with a comprehensive strategy, coordinating with the relevant ministry … I hope to carry out activities to prevent social loneliness and isolation and to protect the bonds between people, ”Mr. Sakamoto added.
TBEN reported that the Japanese government also established an “office to combat isolation / loneliness” within the cabinet on February 19 for issues such as suicide and child poverty – which have increased during the pandemic.
The country has recorded more than 426,000 cases of COVID-19 and 7,577 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University.