Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga earlier this month appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto, a cabinet member for Ministry of Loneliness.
Yoshihide said the move is aimed at trying to combat its exploding suicide rate amid COVID-19 pandemic and beef up the depressed country’s birth rate.
Suga noted that Japanese women, in particular, have been struggling with depression since the beginning of corona virus pandemic, with nearly 880 female suicide victims in the country alone in October.
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“Women especially are feeling more isolated and face increasing suicide rates,” Suga said at a meeting announcing the new post earlier this month while speaking to Nikkei Asia.
“I’d like you to examine the issue and put forward a comprehensive strategy,” the PM told his new Loneliness Minister.
Sakamoto is slated to assemble a team dedicated to interagency communication, and will host an emergency forum with advocacy groups and other players as early as this month to identify top priorities.
He was to begin trying to better coordinate between government agencies and set up an emergency forum to discuss issues.
“I hope to promote activities that prevent loneliness and social isolation and protect the ties between people,” Sakamoto said.
His other cabinet responsibilities include regional revitalization, as well as addressing Japan’s falling birthrate.
Sakamoto said he could coordinate with the health ministry on suicide prevention and with the agricultural ministry on food banks.
Ministry of Loneliness is not only in Japan, UK also appointed Minister of Loneliness in 2018.