Reorganising A Serious Issue…
Since the COVID-19 Pandemic rocked the Asia-Pacific Nation in March 2020, a rise in suicide, especially among the Women, has been noticed in Japan. To check the rising rate of suicide amid this pandemic, the Yoshihide Suga Government in Tokyo has appointed a Loneliness Minister. Prime Minister Suga added the new portfolio to his Cabinet earlier this week, and appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto as the Loneliness Minister.
For the year that passed, Minister Sakamoto was in charge of combating the nation’s falling birth rate. Prime Minister Suga requested him to take charge as the Minister of Loneliness, after considering his previous performance. In his inaugural media conference, Sakamoto said that Prime Minister Suga wanted him to address national matters, “including the issue of the increasing women’s suicide rate under the pandemic“. He also said: “The PM instructed me to examine the issue and put forward a comprehensive strategy, by co-ordinating with the related ministry.” The newly-appointed minister has expressed hope to promote activities that prevent loneliness, social isolation, and aims to protect and promote the ties between people of his country.
It may be noted that the US had created a similar office in 2018 to tackle the psychological issues of the people. Now, the Government of Japan is following suit, with Prime Minister Suga creating the office on February 19, 2021. In fact, the suicide rate among women has been low in Japan in the last 11 years. However, the rate rose sharply (by 15%) in 2020, with the scenario deteriorating in October 2020. Compared to October 2019, the rate increased by 70% in October 2020. Japan decided to form the new Ministry in response to this worrisome situation!
Furthermore, the Government of Japan has also created an Isolation or Loneliness Countermeasures Office within the Cabinet, to deal with issues, such as suicide and child poverty. These problems, too, increased during the Pandemic. So far, the Asia-Pacific Nation has recorded more than 426,000 COVID-19 cases and 7,577 deaths. (data: John Hopkins University)
Experts are of the opinion that other countries should follow the path of Japan and the US, as psychological problems are on the rise across the globe due to modern lifestyle. However, it would be difficult for the Developing Nations to bear the additional expenses of opening and running a new ministry, as the existing Health Sector is not up to the mark in these countries…
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