Japan just appointed a Minister of Loneliness — to try to combat its exploding suicide rate amid COVID-19.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga named Tetsushi Sakamoto, a cabinet member already trying to beef up the depressed country’s birthrate, to the post.
Suga noted earlier this month that Japanese women, in particular, have been struggling with depression since the coronavirus pandemic began about a year ago — with nearly 880 female suicide victims in the country alone in October, a 70 percent increase over the year before, the BBC reported.
“Women especially are feeling more isolated and face increasing suicide rates,” Suga said at a meeting announcing the new post earlier this month, according to Nikkei Asia.
“I’d like you to examine the issue and put forward a comprehensive strategy,” the PM told his new Loneliness Minister.
Sakamoto later told reporters, “I hope to promote activities that prevent loneliness and social isolation and protect the ties between people.’’