Japan appointed a "Minister of Loneliness" this month to tackle the country's rising suicide rates. Here’s a thread 👇
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with people more socially isolated than ever, Japan saw a rise in suicides for the first time in 11 years, particularly among women.
In October, more people died from suicide than had died from COVID-19 in Japan in all of 2020 so far. There were 2,153 suicide deaths that month and 1,765 total virus deaths up to the end of October 2020, per the Japanese National Police Agency.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto, who is already a minister in charge of dealing with Japan's declining birthrate and promoting regional revitalization, to oversee government policies to deal with loneliness and isolation.
Loneliness has long been an issue in Japan, often discussed alongside "hikikomori," or people who live in extreme social isolation.
People have worked to create far-ranging solutions to this issue. Engineers in Japan previously designed a robot to hold someone's hand when they're lonely.
The United Kingdom was the first country to appoint a loneliness minister in 2018, after a 2017 report found that more than nine million people in the UK said they often or always felt lonely. Australia has considered creating a similar position.

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22 Feb
Singapore's @ChangiAirport was ranked the world's best airport for the eighth year in a row in 2020.

In the pandemic, it has tried to reinvent itself as a domestic tourist destination. See the photos from a recent visit showing it to be mostly empty insider.com/singapore-jewe…
As the world started to lock down in 2020, Singapore, like many other countries, closed its borders to tourists.

And in April and May, during its COVID-19 "circuit-breaker" lockdown, Changi Airport operated at 0.5% of its usual traffic. insider.com/singapore-jewe…
Today, the airport, famous for its massive indoor waterfall, Imax theater, and wide variety of shops and restaurants, is still closed to short-term visitors except for those from a handful of countries like Australia, Taiwan, and New Zealand.

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