COVID-19 Fallout: Japan Appoints ‘Minister For Loneliness’ After Rise In Suicides

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Japan has appointed a Minister for Loneliness to check rising suicide cases in wake of the increasing cases of suicides during the pandemic. Japan’s suicide rate reportedly increased for the first time in 11 years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga added a Minister for Loneliness to his Cabinet in February, The Japan Times reported.

Minister Tetsushi Sakamoto, who is also in-charge of combating Japan’s falling birth rate and revitalising regional economies, has been selected for the new role, India Today reported.

In his inaugural press conference, Sakamoto said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga appointed him to address national matters including the issue of the increasing women’s suicide rate under the pandemic, the ANI report quoted CNN as saying.

“Suga instructed me to examine the issue and put forward a comprehensive strategy, by coordinating with the related ministry… I hope to carry out activities to prevent social loneliness and isolation and to protect ties between people,” Minister Tetsushi Sakamoto said.

Japan has recorded more than 426,000 Covid-19 cases and 7,577 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University.

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