By SHOGO KODAMA, Nikkei staff writer
TOKYO — Telework and the lack of social gatherings during Japan’s fight against the coronavirus have left people feeling increasingly stressed and lonely. Pandemic-linked isolation has been blamed for the first uptick in Japanese suicides in 11 years.
Recognizing a serious problem, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday launched a designated cabinet post to alleviate social isolation. Tetsushi Sakamoto, who has been tapped for the job, will work as the coordinator for efforts across multiple ministries and agencies.
“Women especially are feeling more isolated and face increasing suicide rates,” Suga told Sakamoto. “I’d like you to examine the issue and put forward a comprehensive strategy.”