The Whole World is Sad: Japanese Prime Minister Appoints a 'Minister of Loneliness' to Fight Suicide Surge

(NOAA-NASA GOES Project via AP, File)

Things aren’t going so well in Japan.

As relayed by RedState’s Brad Slager in November, the nation’s suicide toll had surpassed that of the coronavirus:

In the month of October, the nation recorded over 2,100 people who had taken their own life. That monthly figure exceeds the total of all COVID deaths Japan has experienced this year, which numbers less than 2,000.

It’s not hard to believe — you sentence people to isolation, and mental health is going to decline.

But now, the nation has a plan of attack.

From the Japan Times:

Japan is beefing up measures against loneliness, taking a first major step toward comprehensively tackling a pervasive problem in the nation that has again been thrust into the spotlight due to the pandemic.

Such is the urgency of the issue that the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga added a minister of loneliness to his Cabinet earlier this month…

New Minister of Loneliness Tetsushi Sakamoto is also in charge of another lunge against loneliness: Increasing Japan’s birth rate.

Although, it seems lockdown could help with that.

On Friday, the Cabinet Office will additionally establish a task force to deal with loneliness “across various ministries, including by investigating its impact.”

As noted by The Daily Wire, new statistics released by the National Police Agency reveal 20,919 suicides were committed in Japan last year.

That’s the first rate increase in 11 years.

The Prime Minister told the Lower House Budget Committee earlier this month that people from all walks of life, including older people who are at home and university students who cannot attend classes in person, are feeling more and more isolated in the era of COVID-19.

Particularly surging: suicides among young people and women.

During a meeting, Prime Minister Yoshihide expressed hope to Tetsushi:

“Women are suffering from isolation more (than men are), and the number of suicides is on a rising trend. I hope you will identify problems and promote policy measures comprehensively.”

Japan’s isn’t the first government to look at loneliness.

In 2018, AARP reported British Prime Minister Theresa May’s appointment of a loneliness minister to combat the “sad reality of modern life.”

At the time, a statement from Theresa read, “I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.”

If 2018 was sad, what the heck was 2020?

Apropos, amid a new shut-in approach to passing the time, America’s 5th largest school district recently sent kids back to class.

The reason: A surge of suicides.

Jesus Jara — superintendent of Clark County in Las Vegas — offered the following:

“When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the COVID numbers we need to look at anymore. We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them. They’ve got to start seeing some movement, some hope.”

The same could be said of the world.

-ALEX

 

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