The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga created a new dedicated cabinet position to tackle isolation and stress – the ‘Minister of Loneliness’.
The pandemic linked isolation has been blamed for an increase in mental health with more and more people feeling stressed, isolated and lonely.
With the pandemic Japan is seeing an increase in the number of suicides. For long Japan has had one of the highest rates of suicide in the world, but the rate had fallen in the past one decade.
Now amid the pandemic the rate surged for the first time in years and was much higher than the previous year. According to government data, 20,919 people died by suicide in 2020, which is 3.7% more as compared to 2019.
Recognizing a serious problem, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto as Minister of Loneliness to address the issues of social isolation and loneliness among the citizens.
The Japanese government is also planning to organise an emergency forum in February in order to get experts to discuss the serious situation and suggest measures which could alleviate the problem that people are facing.
The government is expected to take cues from United Kingdom who in 2018 had appointed a minister of loneliness because of problems among its older generation.