Japan appoints Minister of Loneliness as suicide rate climbs

Japan has appointed a Minister of Loneliness as the country tries to address its growing suicide rate amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Tetsushi Sakamoto is Japan’s new loneliness minister. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Japan’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto to the post, which will also see him address its falling birth rate and strengthening regional economies.

In his first address, Sakamoto said, (Japan PM) 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.”

Japan reported 880 female suicides last October alone, a 70 per cent increase over the same month of the previous year.

The Asian nation has reported 4.2 million coronavirus cases and over 7,500 related deaths.

Last week, Britain created its own isolation/loneliness office in its cabinet to address issues including suicide and child poverty.