Prime minister of Japan has appointed the “minister of loneliness” to his cabinet following cases of high suicides in the country.
Japan Times revealed that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga established the function in early February, which was years after the United Kingdom (UK) came up with a similar role in 2018.
As a result, Tetsushi Sakamoto will assume the role of minister of loneliness besides handling regional economies and the nation’s reducing birth rates.
According to reports by the National Police Agency, a total of 20,919 people committed suicide in the year 2020, which marked an increase by 750 people from the previous year, further marking it as the initial consecutive rise in suicides in the last 11 years.
The Times further reported that the surge is mainly common amongst the young people and women.
Suga said to the country’s budget committee earlier this month that people from all walks of life are vulnerable, the Times reports.
The newspaper further disclosed that Japan is familiar with loneliness with kodokushi or “lonely deaths” being common. These involve people dying within their residences with the body remaining undetected for a longer period of time.
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Japan rated the highest in terms people aged 60 or older who felt they had no one to turn to in times of need with 16 percent of people saying so, compared to 13 percent in the U.S.
In the meantime, the coronavirus pandemic has escalated the feelings of isolation around the world for instance, the Clark County School District in Nevada partly re-opened schools in a bid to deal with suicide cases amongst the students.