Kohei Suzuki on Infobae about the problem of loneliness in Japan
Kohei Suzuki, Assistant Professor at Institute of Public Administration, was interviewed by Infobae about loneliness in Japan and the role of government and society.
There is a silent epidemic going on in Japan: Kodokushi. Thousands of people who live isolated from their social environments die alone and weeks, months or even years can pass without anyone finding out. It’s a phenomenon that increasingly worries authorities and citizens. There are records of Kodokushi at least since the 1970s, but in the last 20 years it has evolved into a silent epidemic. Kodokushi became so prevalent in Japan that a fledgling industry developed around it. But the private sector not only registered the phenomen, but also began to try to obtain an economic benefit. There are also companies that joined the recent strategies of different governments to mitigate the problem.
Kohei Suzuki does not believe that the Japanese governemnt and society are defenseless against the problem. Historically, Japan has enjoyed a vibrant grassroots civil society. There are various types of citizen groups, including neighborhood associations, youth and senior groups, and other forms of community volunteering. There are several municipalities that are appealing to joint public-private initiatives to combat isolation. For example, the city of Okazaki. There is also the case of Adachi, one of the 23 special districts of Tokyo, which launched a project of zero tolerance for isolation. There is an active collaboration between local governments and citizens in many other places in Japan.
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Kohei Suzuki is Assistant Professor at Institute of Public Administration, the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs at Leiden University, the Hague, the Netherlands. His research examines how bureaucratic structures and administrative reforms affect policy outcomes, bureaucratic behavior, and broader governance outcomes with a comparative perspective. He obtained his Ph.D. in Public Policy from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington in June 2016. He also worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Quality of Government Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg in Sweden. He joined the Institute of Public Administration, Leiden University in January 2019. Please visit his website for details.