The Reading / Listening - Loneliness - Level 3

The Japanese government now has a "minister of loneliness". It is the first time Japan has had such a minister. Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga created the role in early February. He asked Tetsushi Sakamoto to fill the new position. Mr Suga wanted to do something about the rise in suicide cases. The number of people taking their own lives has risen during the pandemic. Japan's National Police Agency showed that 20,919 people died by suicide in 2020. This is 750 more than the previous year. It is also first consecutive rise in suicides in 11 years. Mr Sakamoto told reporters: "I hope to promote activities that prevent loneliness and social isolation and to improve the ties between people."



The police agency reported that there has been a much bigger rise in suicides among women and young people. Prime Minister Suga said women have been struggling with loneliness since the coronavirus pandemic started in early 2020. He told reporters: "Women are suffering from isolation more than men are, and the number of suicides is on a rising trend." There has been a 70 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of women taking their own lives. Yoko Suzuki, a 23-year-old designer who lives in Tokyo, said she has suffered from loneliness since coronavirus started. She said: "Not seeing people smile behind their mask makes me sad and lonely." She added: "I want to see happy faces."

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Loneliness - Level 0 Loneliness - Level 1   or  Loneliness - Level 2

Sources
  • https://thehill.com/policy/international/asia-pacific/539917-japanese-prime-minister-appoints-minister-of-loneliness-to
  • https://nypost.com/2021/02/22/japan-creates-minister-of-loneliness-to-fight-covid-suicides/
  • https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/12/national/loneliness-isolation-minister/


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Warm-ups

1. LONELINESS: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about loneliness. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       minister / loneliness / role / position / rise / suicide / pandemic / reporters / isolation /
       police / young people / coronavirus / suffering / trend / designer / mask / happy faces
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. MINISTER: Students A strongly believe all governments need a minister of loneliness; Students B strongly believe otherwise. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. ADVICE: What advice would you give these people who are lonely? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

Why they might be lonely

Advice

A schoolchild

 

 

A woman

 

 

A man

 

 

A business person

 

 

A rock star

 

 

An old person

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. MASK: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "mask". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. HELP: Rank these with your partner. Put the people who can best help others with loneliness at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • family
  • doctors
  • neighbours
  • local community
  • friends
  • co-workers
  • social media
  • yourself

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. minister a. Gone up.
      2. role b. The boss (head) of a government department.
      3. suicide c. The action of killing oneself on purpose.
      4. risen d. One after another without the order being broken.
      5. previous e. Stop from happening.
      6. consecutive f. A job or position in a company, movie, play or situation.
      7. prevent g. Existing or occurring before in time or order.

    Paragraph 2

      8. agency h. A general direction in which something is developing or changing.
      9. struggling i. A cover for all or part of the face.
      10. suffering j. The fact of being alone or very far away from others.
      11. trend k. The state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.
      12. pandemic l. A disease that is over a whole country or the world.
      13. isolation m. A business or organization established to provide a particular service.
      14. mask n. Having a lot of trouble doing something.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. Japan appointed a minister of loneliness in late January.     T / F
  2. The number of deaths by suicide rose in Japan in the pandemic.     T / F
  3. Over 20,000 people took their own lives in Japan in 2020.     T / F
  4. The loneliness minister wants to improve ties between people.     T / F
  5. Japan's police said there was a bigger rise in suicides among men.     T / F
  6. Japan's leader said women are feeling lonelier than men.     T / F
  7. There has been a 17 per cent increase in suicides among women.     T / F
  8. A young woman in Tokyo does not like seeing masks on people.     T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

  1. role
  2. rise
  3. consecutive
  4. promote
  5. ties
  6. reported
  7. struggling
  8. trend
  9. started
  10. sad
  1. announced
  2. push
  3. unhappy
  4. successive
  5. position
  6. shift
  7. began
  8. links
  9. fighting
  10. increase

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. the first time Japan has
  2. This is 750 more than
  3. the first consecutive
  4. I hope to promote activities that
  5. improve the ties between
  6. a much bigger rise in suicides
  7. women have been struggling
  8. the number of women taking
  9. Not seeing people smile
  10. I want to see happy
  1. prevent loneliness
  2. their own lives
  3. behind their mask
  4. the previous year
  5. with loneliness
  6. faces
  7. people
  8. rise
  9. among women
  10. had such a minister

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
during
previous
time
ties
showed
rise
activities
role

The Japanese government now has a "minister of loneliness". It is the first (1) _____________________ Japan has had such a minister. Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga created the (2) _____________________ in early February. He asked Tetsushi Sakamoto to fill the new position. Mr Suga wanted to do something about the (3) _____________________ in suicide cases. The number of people taking their own lives has risen (4) _____________________ the pandemic. Japan's National Police Agency (5) _____________________ that 20,919 people died by suicide in 2020. This is 750 more than the (6) _____________________ year. It is also the first consecutive rise in suicides in 11 years. Mr Sakamoto told reporters: "I hope to promote (7) _____________________ that prevent loneliness and social isolation and to improve the (8) _____________________ between people."

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
suffering
loneliness
struggling
smile
agency
trend
among
lives

The police (9) _____________________ reported that there has been a much bigger rise in suicides (10) _____________________ women and young people. Prime Minister Suga said women have been (11) _____________________ with loneliness since the coronavirus pandemic started in early 2020. He told reporters: "Women are (12) _____________________ from isolation more than men are, and the number of suicides is on a rising (13) _____________________." There has been a 70 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of women taking their own (14) _____________________. Yoko Suzuki, a 23-year-old designer who lives in Tokyo, said she has suffered from (15) _____________________ since coronavirus started. She said: "Not seeing people (16) _____________________ behind their mask makes me sad and lonely." She added: "I want to see happy faces."

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1) It is the first time Japan has had ______
     a.  such the minister
     b.  such are minister
     c.  such a minister
     d.  such as minister
2)  Mr Suga wanted to do something about the rise ______
     a.  on suicide cases
     b.  at suicide cases
     c.  in suicide cases
     d.  to suicide cases
3)  This is 750 more than ______
     a.  the previous year
     b.  the previously year
     c.  the previews year
     d.  the pre-viewers year
4)  It is also the first consecutive ______
     a.  raising suicides
     b.  arisen suicides
     c.  rise in suicides
     d.  rose suicides
5)  activities that prevent loneliness and social isolation and to ______
     a.  improve the tiles
     b.  improve the tyres
     c.  improve the types
     d.  improve the ties

6)  The police agency reported that there has been a much bigger rise in ______
     a.  suicides among woman
     b.  suicides young women
     c.  suicides young woman
     d.  suicides among women
7)  Prime Minister Suga said women have been struggling ______
     a.  without loneliness
     b.  wither loneliness
     c.  with loneliness
     d.  within loneliness
8)  He told reporters: "Women are suffering from isolation more ______."
     a.  than men are
     b.  than men be
     c.  than men do
     d.  than men have
9)  a 70 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of women taking ______
     a.  their roam lives
     b.  their ruin lives
     c.  their own lives
     d.  their rune lives
10)  Not seeing people smile ______
     a.  behind them mask
     b.  behind they mask
     c.  behind their mask
     d.  behind there mask

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

The Japanese government now has a "minister of loneliness". It is the first time Japan has had (1) ____________________. Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (2) ____________________ in early February. He asked Tetsushi Sakamoto to fill the new position. Mr Suga wanted to do something about the rise in suicide cases. The number of people taking (3) ____________________ has risen during the pandemic. Japan's National Police Agency showed that 20,919 people (4) ____________________ in 2020. This is 750 more than the previous year. It is also the first consecutive rise in suicides in 11 years. Mr Sakamoto told reporters: "I hope to promote activities that prevent loneliness (5) ____________________ and to (6) ____________________ between people."

The police agency reported that there has been a (7) ____________________ in suicides among women and young people. Prime Minister Suga said women have (8) ____________________ loneliness since the coronavirus pandemic started in early 2020. He told reporters: "Women are suffering (9) ____________________ than men are, and the number of suicides is on a rising trend." There has been a 70 per cent (10) ____________________ increase in the number of women taking their own lives. Yoko Suzuki, a 23-year-old (11) ____________________ in Tokyo, said she has suffered from loneliness since coronavirus started. She said: "Not seeing people smile behind their mask makes me (12) ____________________." She added: "I want to see happy faces."

Comprehension questions

  1. How many ministers of loneliness has Japan had before this one?
  2. When did Japan's leader create this post?
  3. What has caused an increase in the number of suicides?
  4. Which organisation reported a rise in the number of suicides?
  5. What does the loneliness minister want to improve between people?
  6. In which group of people has there been a rise in suicides besides      women?
  7. What did Mr Suga say women are struggling with?
  8. By how much has the number of suicides among women risen?
  9. What is Yoko Suzuki's job?
  10. What does Yoko Suzuki want to see?




Multiple choice quiz

1) How many ministers of loneliness has Japan had before this one?
a) 3
b) 1
c) 0
d) 2
2) When did Japan's leader create this post?
a) February 2021
b) February 2020
c) January 2021
d) December 2021
3) What has caused an increase in the number of suicides?
a) money worries
b) the weather
c) unemployment
d) the pandemic
4) Which organisation reported a rise in the number of suicides?
a) the WHO
b) National Police Agency
c) National Health Service
d) Interior Ministry
5) What does the loneliness minister want to improve between people?
a) mood
b) income
c) ties
d) social circles

6) In which group of people has there been a rise in suicides besides women?
a) men in the thirties
b) young people
c) working men
d) the retired
7) What did Mr Suga say women are struggling with?
a) finances
b) hectic lives
c) employment
d) loneliness
8) By how much has the number of suicides among women risen?
a) 60%
b) 70%
c) 50%
d) 80%
9) What is Yoko Suzuki's job?
a) graphic designer
b) accountant
c) doctor
d) pilot

10) What does Yoko Suzuki want to see?
a) summer
b) a doctor
c) vaccines
d) happy faces

Role play

Role  A – Doctors
You think doctors are the best people to help with loneliness. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their forms of help. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): neighbours, social media or you.

Role  B – Neighbours
You think neighbours are the best people to help with loneliness. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their forms of help. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): doctors, social media or you.

Role  C – Social Media
You think social media is the best way to help with loneliness. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their forms of help. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): neighbours, doctors or you.

Role  D – Yourself
You think you are the best people to help with loneliness. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their forms of help. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why):  neighbours, social media or doctors.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'lonely'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'minister'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • Share your findings with your partners.

    • Make questions using the words you found.

    • Ask your partner / group your questions.

    2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

    •Share your questions with other classmates / groups. •Ask your partner / group your questions.

    3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

    4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

    5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • first
    • role
    • position
    • pandemic
    • previous
    • ties
    • bigger
    • struggling
    • isolation
    • 70
    • 23
    • mask




    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - Loneliness

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'lonely'?
    3. What do you know about loneliness?
    4. What health problems can loneliness cause?
    5. What do you think of the idea of a minister of loneliness?
    6. How has the pandemic affected your mental health?
    7. What can governments do to cut numbers of suicides?
    8. How good are you at helping people who are lonely?
    9. What advice do you have for lonely people?
    10. What can the minister do to help with social isolation?

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'mask'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. When have you been lonely?
    5. Why might the pandemic be affecting women more than men?
    6. How would you deal with isolation?
    7. Are you happy being by yourself for a long time?
    8. What do you think of everyone wearing masks?
    9. How important is it to see happy faces?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the minister of loneliness?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    The Japanese government now has a "minister of loneliness". It is the first time Japan has had (1) ____ a minister. Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga created the (2) ____ in early February. He asked Tetsushi Sakamoto to (3) ____ the new position. Mr Suga wanted to do something about the rise in suicide cases. The number of people taking their (4) ____ lives has risen during the pandemic. Japan's National Police Agency showed that 20,919 people died by suicide in 2020. This is 750 more than the previous year. It is also the first consecutive rise (5) ____ suicides in 11 years. Mr Sakamoto told reporters: "I hope to promote activities that prevent loneliness and social isolation and to improve the (6) ____ between people."

    The police agency reported that there has been a (7) ____ bigger rise in suicides among women and young people. Prime Minister Suga said women have been (8) ____ with loneliness since the coronavirus pandemic started in early 2020. He told reporters: "Women are suffering from isolation more than men are, and the number of suicides (9) ____ on a rising trend." There has been a 70 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of women (10) ____ their own lives. Yoko Suzuki, a 23-year-old designer who lives in Tokyo, said she has suffered (11) ____ loneliness since coronavirus started. She said: "Not (12) ____ people smile behind their mask makes me sad and lonely." She added: "I want to see happy faces."

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     much     (b)     so     (c)     many     (d)     such    
    2. (a)     real     (b)     LOL     (c)     roll     (d)     role    
    3. (a)     full     (b)     fill     (c)     filling     (d)     fills    
    4. (a)     town     (b)     down     (c)     own     (d)     gown    
    5. (a)     in     (b)     on     (c)     at     (d)     to    
    6. (a)     ties     (b)     scarves     (c)     pins     (d)     fastens    
    7. (a)     many     (b)     more     (c)     most     (d)     much    
    8. (a)     struggling     (b)     smuggling     (c)     straggling     (d)     stacking    
    9. (a)     do     (b)     is     (c)     be     (d)     are    
    10. (a)     taken     (b)     took     (c)     taking     (d)     takes    
    11. (a)     at     (b)     on     (c)     from     (d)     as    
    12. (a)     seen     (b)     seeing     (c)     sees     (d)     see

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. fill the new tioionps
    2. risen during the dpicnaem
    3. 750 more than the verspoiu year
    4. I hope to rpotome activities
    5. prevent loneliness and social oanlostii
    6. mivpreo the ties between people

    Paragraph 2

    1. police anegcy
    2. women have been sngrgliutg
    3. Women are suffering from otlisoian
    4. on a rising tnrde
    5. a 23-year-old isdenegr
    6. she has edfuersf from loneliness

    Put the text back together

    (...)  February. He asked Tetsushi Sakamoto to fill the new position. Mr Suga wanted to do something
    (...)  are, and the number of suicides is on a rising trend." There has been a 70 per cent year-on-year
    (...)  and young people. Prime Minister Suga said women have been struggling with loneliness since the coronavirus
    (...)  about the rise in suicide cases. The number of people taking their own lives has risen during the
    (...)  minister. Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga created the role in early
    (...)  reporters: "I hope to promote activities that prevent loneliness and social isolation and to improve the ties between people."
    (...)  increase in the number of women taking their own lives. Yoko Suzuki, a 23-year-old
    (...)  The police agency reported that there has been a much bigger rise in suicides among women
    (...)  smile behind their mask makes me sad and lonely." She added: "I want to see happy faces."
    (...)  year. It is also the first consecutive rise in suicides in 11 years. Mr Sakamoto told
    1  ) The Japanese government now has a "minister of loneliness". It is the first time Japan has had such a
    (...)  designer who lives in Tokyo, said she has suffered from loneliness since coronavirus started. She said: "Not seeing people
    (...)  pandemic. Japan's National Police Agency showed that 20,919 people died by suicide in 2020. This is 750 more than the previous
    (...)  pandemic started in early 2020. He told reporters: "Women are suffering from isolation more than men

    Put the words in the right order

    1. has   a   time   The   first   minister   .   Japan   such
    2. rise   cases   .   the   something   Do   in   about   suicide
    3. own   people   number   taking   lives   .   of   their   The
    4. more   than   This   750   previous   the   is   year   .
    5. to   promote   loneliness   .   hope   activities   I   prevent   that
    6. bigger   rise   suicides   .   been   has   There   in   a
    7. have   women   Suga   loneliness   .   been   struggling   said   with
    8. isolation   suffering   are   more   Women   men   .   from   than
    9. coronavirus   from   loneliness   She   suffered   has   started   .   since
    10. their   people   seeing   smile   Not   mask   .   behind

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    The Japanese government now / know has a "minister of loneliness". It is the first time Japan has had so / such a minister. Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga created the roll / role in early February. He asked Tetsushi Sakamoto to fill the new / news position. Mr Suga wanted to do something about the rise / arise in suicide cases. The number of people taking their own lives has rising / risen during the pandemic. Japan's National Police Agency showed that 20,919 people died on / by suicide in 2020. This is 750 more than the previous / previously year. It is also the first consecutive rise in / on suicides in 11 years. Mr Sakamoto told reporters: "I hope to promote activities that prevent loneliness and social isolation and to improve the tries / ties between people."

    The police agency report / reported that there has been a much bigger rise in suicides among / between women and young people. Prime Minister Suga said women have been struggled / struggling with loneliness since the coronavirus pandemic started in early 2020. He tell / told reporters: "Women are suffering from isolation more than men be / are, and the number of suicides is on a rising trend / trendy." There has been a 70 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of women taking their own living / lives. Yoko Suzuki, a 23-year-old designing / designer who lives in Tokyo, said she has suffered from loneliness for / since coronavirus started. She said: "Not seeing people smile behind their mask makes me sad and lonely." She added: "I want to see happily / happy faces."

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    Th_  J_p_n_s_  g_v_rnm_nt  n_w  h_s  _  "m_n_st_r  _f  l_n_l_n_ss".  _t  _s  th_  f_rst  t_m_  J_p_n  h_s  h_d  s_ch  _  m_n_st_r.  J_p_n's   Pr_m_  M_n_st_r  Y_sh_h_d_  S_g_  cr__t_d  th_  r_l_  _n  __rly  F_br__ry.  H_  _sk_d  T_ts_sh_  S_k_m_t_  t_  f_ll  th_  n_w  p_s_t__n.  Mr  S_g_  w_nt_d  t_  d_  s_m_th_ng  _b__t  th_  r_s_  _n  s__c_d_  c_s_s.  Th_  n_mb_r  _f  p__pl_  t_k_ng  th__r  _wn  l_v_s  h_s  r_s_n  d_r_ng  th_  p_nd_m_c.  J_p_n's  N_t__n_l  P_l_c_  _g_ncy  sh_w_d  th_t  20,919  p__pl_  d__d  by  s__c_d_  _n  2020.  Th_s  _s  750  m_r_  th_n  th_  pr_v___s  y__r.  _t  _s  _ls_  th_  f_rst  c_ns_c_t_v_  r_s_  _n  s__c_d_s  _n  11  y__rs.  Mr  S_k_m_t_  t_ld  r_p_rt_rs:  "_  h_p_  t_  pr_m_t_  _ct_v_t__s  th_t  pr_v_nt  l_n_l_n_ss  _nd  s_c__l  _s_l_t__n  _nd  t_  _mpr_v_  th_  t__s  b_tw__n  p__pl_."

    Th_  p_l_c_  _g_ncy  r_p_rt_d  th_t  th_r_  h_s  b__n  _  m_ch  b_gg_r  r_s_  _n  s__c_d_s  _m_ng  w_m_n  _nd  y__ng  p__pl_.  Pr_m_  M_n_st_r  S_g_  s__d  w_m_n  h_v_  b__n  str_ggl_ng  w_th  l_n_l_n_ss  s_nc_  th_  c_r_n_v_r_s  p_nd_m_c  st_rt_d  _n  __rly  2020.  H_  t_ld  r_p_rt_rs:  "W_m_n  _r_  s_ff_r_ng  fr_m  _s_l_t__n  m_r_  th_n  m_n  _r_,  _nd  th_  n_mb_r  _f  s__c_d_s  _s  _n  _  r_s_ng  tr_nd."  Th_r_  h_s  b__n  _  70  p_r  c_nt  y__r-_n-y__r  _ncr__s_  _n  th_  n_mb_r  _f  w_m_n  t_k_ng  th__r  _wn  l_v_s.  Y_k_  S_z_k_,  _  23-y__r-_ld  d_s_gn_r  wh_  l_v_s  _n  T_ky_,  s__d  sh_  h_s  s_ff_r_d  fr_m  l_n_l_n_ss  s_nc_  c_r_n_v_r_s  st_rt_d.  Sh_  s__d:  "N_t  s___ng  p__pl_  sm_l_  b_h_nd  th__r  m_sk  m_k_s  m_  s_d  _nd  l_n_ly."  Sh_  _dd_d:  "_  w_nt  t_  s__  h_ppy  f_c_s."

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    the japanese government now has a minister of loneliness it is the first time japan has had such a minister japans prime minister yoshihide suga created the role in early february he asked tetsushi sakamoto to fill the new position mr suga wanted to do something about the rise in suicide cases the number of people taking their own lives has risen during the pandemic japans national police agency showed that 20919 people died by suicide in 2020 this is 750 more than the previous year it is also the first consecutive rise in suicides in 11 years mr sakamoto told reporters i hope to promote activities that prevent loneliness and social isolation and to improve the ties between people

    the police agency reported that there has been a much bigger rise in suicides among women and young people prime minister suga said women have been struggling with loneliness since the coronavirus pandemic started in early 2020 he told reporters women are suffering from isolation more than men are and the number of suicides is on a rising trend there has been a 70 per cent yearonyear increase in the number of women taking their own lives yoko suzuki a 23yearold designer who lives in tokyo said she has suffered from loneliness since coronavirus started she said not seeing people smile behind their mask makes me sad and lonely she added i want to see happy faces

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    TheJapanesegovernmentnowhasa"ministerofloneliness".Itisthefirst
    timeJapanhashadsuchaminister.Japan'sPrimeMinisterYoshihideSug
    acreatedtheroleinearlyFebruary.HeaskedTetsushiSakamototofillth
    enewposition.MrSugawantedtodosomethingabouttheriseinsuicidec
    ases.Thenumberofpeopletakingtheirownliveshasrisenduringthepan
    demic.Japan'sNationalPoliceAgencyshowedthat20,919peoplediedb
    ysuicidein2020.Thisis750morethanthepreviousyear.Itisalsofirstcon
    secutiveriseinsuicidesin11years.MrSakamototoldreporters:"Ihopet
    opromoteactivitiesthatpreventlonelinessandsocialisolationandtoim
    provethetiesbetweenpeople."Thepoliceagencyreportedthatthereha
    sbeenamuchbiggerriseinsuicidesamongwomenandyoungpeople.Pri
    meMinisterSugasaidwomenhavebeenstrugglingwithlonelinesssince
    thecoronaviruspandemicstartedinearly2020.Hetoldreporters:"Wo
    menaresufferingfromisolationmorethanmenare,andthenumberofsu
    icidesisonarisingtrend."Therehasbeena70percentyear-on-yearincr
    easeinthenumberofwomentakingtheirownlives.YokoSuzuki,a23-y
    ear-olddesignerwholivesinTokyo,saidshehassufferedfromlonelines
    ssincecoronavirusstarted.Shesaid:"Notseeingpeoplesmilebehindth
    eirmaskmakesmesadandlonely."Sheadded:"Iwanttoseehappyfaces
    ."

    Free writing

    Write about loneliness for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    Schools should give lessons to teach children about loneliness. Discuss.

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    Homework

    1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
    2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. LONELINESS: Make a poster about loneliness. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. TIES: Write a magazine article about governments doing more to promote ties between people. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).
    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on loneliness. Ask him/her three questions about it. Give him/her three of your ideas about how to stop people being lonely. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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