Japan appoints ‘loneliness minister’ to combat rising suicide rate

National News
Virus Outbreak Japan Daily Life

FILE – People wearing protective masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

A newly created position is set to combat the rising rate of suicides due to COVID-19 in Japan.

According to Japan Times, Tetsushi Sakamoto took over as Minister for Loneliness on Feb. 12.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga appointed Sakamoto to “address the issue and put forward a comprehensive strategy to prevent social loneliness and isolation,” Sakamoto said at a news presser, The Times reported.

The Japanese government also created an isolation/loneliness counter-measures office to address problems such as suicide and child poverty as those have risen during the pandemic, The Asahi Shimbun reported

According to Japan Times, this is the first time in 11 years that the country’s suicide rate has increased.

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