February 23rd Japanese media reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga recently decided to appoint Tetsushi Sakamoto, the special minister of the cabinet office, as the first “lonely minister” in an effort to reduce the loneliness and social isolation of the residents of the country and deal with the social problems of rising suicide rate.
According to Business Insider quoted the Japan Times on the 22nd, Yoshihide Suga said at the appointment press conference on the 12th of this month that Japanese women have suffered more from quarantine than men, and the number of suicides is on the rise.
Therefore, he hopes that Tetsushi Sakamoto can “find problems and comprehensively promote policy measures”. . Japan’s new Minister of Solitude said he planned to hold an emergency forum in late February to hear from people who are lonely and isolated.
The report said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are more lonely than ever, and Japan’s suicide rate has increased for the first time in 11 years. According to the latest data of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the number of suicides reached 20,919 in 2020, the first increase since the 2009 financial crisis.
The Japanese government blamed the results on social failure caused by the epidemic and economic pressure such as unemployment. Moreover, the suicide rate of women has increased for the first time in two years, reaching 6,976. In fact, many women working on the front line were the first to be fired because the epidemic hit Japan’s tourism and retail industry.
The UK was reportedly the first country to appoint a Lonely Minister (Minister) in 2018, after a 2017 report found that more than 9 million people in the UK said they often or always felt lonely.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Japan has the highest suicide rate among the G7, with 14.9 suicides per 100,000 people.
Most of the reasons are health factors and economic problems, but as the epidemic continues to spread, the related problems will only continue to worsen.