"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Press Conference on the Prime Minister's Observation Tour of the Specified Non-Profit Organization Lifelink Suicide Prevention and Support Center and Other Matters

[Date] March 30, 2021
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

(On the Prime Minister's observation tour of the specified non-profit organization Lifelink Suicide Prevention and Support Center)

Today, I toured a site providing consultations through social networking services that assist people facing difficulties and prevent suicides.

Last year, for the first time in 11 years, the number of suicides rose substantially, particularly among women. For that reason and others, I came to observe the organization's operations. I greatly admire those working so hard to provide preventive consultations to people heading towards suicide as a result of loneliness and social isolation.

As a practical matter, such people in trouble and government services have a hard time getting connected with each other. NPOs (non-profit organizations) are engaged in activities bridging that gap. I think this is a truly wonderful thing. As for the Government, I recently appointed a minister in charge of loneliness and isolation and I have listened to the perspectives of a wide range of people, and against that background, I have come to decide that the Government will provide thorough assistance in this area.

(On dining by personnel of the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare)

I consider the matter extremely regrettable. Today, I have come here together with Minister Tamura, and he has also enacted checks and strict measures so that this kind of thing does not happen again. But regardless, I consider the matter to be most regrettable.

(On support for activities by NPOs)

We formulated the budget in such a way that, for example within the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, 6 billion yen is to support NPO activities. In addition, as everyone saw this now, but I consider it to be the Government's role to be able to firmly support people engaging in these pursuits and make it easy for them to undertake their activities. Accordingly, we intend to go ahead and provide assistance for them in a way that enables them to project several years into the future.

(On applying to Osaka priority measures to prevent the spread of disease)

It seems that nothing has arrived officially. As for Osaka Prefecture as a whole, the current plan forward is for only the city of Osaka at present and then move to the entirety of Osaka Prefecture from April 1. Upon being more thoroughly briefed about that and other factors, we intend to set forth a direction after consulting with the experts