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Suicides top 30,000 per year for 8 years running June 1, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Japan, Society.

Suicides in Japan in 2005 totalled 32,552(according to police statistics), according to police statistics released today (from the Asahi Shimbun- link removed due to dead link).

That is nearly 100 people every day.

Compare that to the 6,871 deaths in traffic accidents in 2005.

The numbers citing economic hardship as the motive amounted to 7756 suicides, approximately one quarter of the total. The most common motive was health issues at 15,014 suicides. Family problems accounted for 3019 suicides. Work problems accounted for 1807, relationship problems- 809, school problems- 233.

I do wonder how they asked these dead people what prompted them to kill themselves…..

23,540 were male, 9,012 were female. Men account for 70% of all suicides.
Age at time of death of people who commit suicides:

Over 60’s accounted for more than 30%, at 10,894.

Those in their 50’s accounted for 7,586.

Thse in their 40’s accounted for 5,208.

Suicides commited by minors (under 20) totaled 608, including 7 of elementary school age, 66 of junior high school age, and 215 of senior high school age.

The balance (8,256) is accounted therefore by people in their 20’s and 30’s.

The suicide rate was 24.1 per 100,000 in 2000 (when the total number of suicides was also over 30,000), the rate is approximately double the US rate, and triple the UK rate.

It is said that approximately 90% of suicides are committed by people suffering from clinical depression. Given the state of mental healthcare in Japan, it is no suprise that suicides are so high. Given that men are more prone to depression than women, it is also not suprising that men greatly dominate the statistics.

There is a private members’ bill regarding anti-suicide measures scheduled to be debated by the Diet in the current session. The new law would require the government and local authorities to “take action to prevent suicides and to care for the families of people who commit suicide”. Specific plans of action have not been discussed, beyond giving government offices and local authorities another excuse to spend taxpayers money I seriously wonder what a law can actually achieve. Currently money is spent on creating pamphlets (which I have never seen), and other educational and promotional exercises. This is not to take anything away from the volunteers who work with bereaved families and orphans of suicide. However, without a drastic new approach to mental (and emotional) health, these figures aren’t going to go down dramatically. Having said that, a healthy economy will probably bring suicides down, at least if the recovery is evenly distributed across the economy (which it isn’t, currently).



1. jackie canuel - January 9, 2007

that is so unfortunate that so many people wanted to commit suicide but it is good to hear that people really care about others thankyou for the information.

2. びっくり - January 12, 2007

I have often been asked to explain the high suicide rate here. While I have many ideas it is hard to put my finger on the source. Thanks for an informative post which has strengthened my understanding.

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