Japan Appoints Loneliness Minister to Check Suicide Rate

Japan has appointed the first ever Minister for Loneliness amid the increasing suicide rates in Japan.

Key Points

  • Suicide rates in Japan has increased for the first time in 11 years in the current COVID-19 pandemic situation.
  • Japan has appointed the loneliness minister on the line of United Kingdom which became the first country in world to create a similar position in the country in 2018.
  • Tetsushi Sakamoto, who is in charge of combating Japan’s falling birth rate and revitalising regional economies, was also appointed as the Loneliness minister.
  • Japanese government has also created an “isolation or loneliness countermeasures office on February 19, 2021 within its cabinet.
  • This office will look after the issues like suicide and child poverty which have increased amid the ongoing pandemic.

Suicide in Japan

  • Suicide is considered a major social issue in Japan. In the year 2017, the country had witnessed seventh highest suicide rate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
  • The suicide rates had increased by 34.7% during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The rates were at peak in 2003 after that, the rates have been decreasing.
  • The rates were at its lowest in the year 2019. However, the monthly suicide rates in Japan increased by 16% in between July and October 2020 because of COVID-19.
  • Among the total cases, seventy percent of suicides are male. Suicide has become the leading cause of death for man in the age group of 2- years to 44 years.

Tetsushi Sakamoto

He is a Japanese politician who was appointed as the Minister of Loneliness on February 12, 2021. He is also a member of the House of Representatives in national legislature of Japan called Diet. He represents the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan.

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