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Japan Appoints ‘Loneliness Minister’

Japan has appointed a "Minister of Loneliness" to try and reduce loneliness and social isolation among its residents as the country deals with rising suicide rates. During the month of October, more Japanese died from suicide than had died from COVID-19 in all of 2020. There were 2,153 suicide deaths that month and 1,765 total virus deaths up to the end of October, according to the Japanese National Police Agency. Studies show that loneliness has been linked to a higher risk of health issues like heart disease, dementia, and eating disorders.

People have worked to solve the loneliness issue in a variety of ways. One company designed a robot to hold someone’s hand when they’re lonely and one man charges people to simply sit with them and “do nothing” except keep them company.

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