To Fight Suicide, Japan Appoints Minister for Loneliness!

In Japan, suicide is a public health issue … The tradition of the samurai ancestors who committed suicide by seppuku (hara-kiri) to avoid shame may be alien to her. Still, suicide is the leading killer of Japanese men between the ages of 20 and 44.

This also applies to young people between the ages of 19 and 24. To curb this unfortunate phenomenon, which has only increased with the pandemic, the Japanese authorities have just set up a new ministry. The fight against loneliness and isolation.

If this ministry was born, it is because of the numbers relating to suicides during the pandemic. In fact, 750 more people ended their lives in 2020 than in 2019! Tetsushi Sakamoto, former journalist and former minister for regional revitalization, becomes minister for loneliness.

Japan takes the lead as authorities expect suicides to spike. Not only in connection with the Covid 19 pandemic, but also with the resulting increase in unemployment. Unemployment currently affects 2 million people at the end of 2020, an increase of 80,000 compared to 2019.

Japan wants to act … fast!

The new Minister for Loneliness believes suicide rates will only rise in the coming months if nothing is done quickly. The uncertainty about the future of this pandemic has created such a fearful climate in Japan that it is becoming more common. “The number of suicides, including women, is increasing due to the protracted coronavirus health crisis, and if left unchecked it becomes a serious social problem. “The minister explains on the NHK public channel.

The uncertainty about the future of this pandemic has created such a fearful climate in Japan. Photo credit: Shutterstock / kenchiro168

We do not yet really know how the Minister of Solitude will act towards his fellow citizens, but several strategies should be briefly mentioned. A ministry that connects political authorities with people from civil society.

This is not a world first. In England, the fight against isolation is led by the same ministry that was founded in 2018. It remains to be seen whether the psychological support likely initiated by the authorities will be enough to contain this worrying phenomenon in society!