More Tokyo train stations start using lights to stem suicides

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  • 0

    Miyaratmosphere

    well, isn't suicide part of this country's culture? Apparently, it is the only way people deal with bankrupcy and personal failure, especially when the family get affected by it. Of course, I'll never judge suicidals, I believe its their own personal decision after all.

  • 0

    borscht

    Executive summary for this article:

    Effectiveness:

    We know there is no scientific proof that blue lights will help deter suicides.

    Expert opinion:

    Shinji Hira, a psychology professor specializing in criminal psychology at Fukuyama University in Hiroshima, speculated that blue lights could make people pause and reflect.

    Solution:

    But he said that if railways want to go further to ensure safety, they should set up fences on platforms

  • 0

    USNinJapan2

    Borscht

    LOL. How true...

  • 0

    societymike

    It's not like it will hurt. If it works, then great. If it does nothing, then at least the area is better lit and you can't ignore the fact that LED's use a fration of electricity and last 4 times as long as flourescent. The side effect is electricity savings, whether it helps deter suicide or not.

    The thing about blue is true though. It does have a soothing effect, western scientists have shown that decades ago.

    The thing with fences won't do much either since they can just jump over them. In the end, if they want to kill themselves, they will find a way.

  • 0

    spudman

    they should set up fences on platforms

    That would be the best way but people who really want to die are pretty resourceful.

  • 0

    Altria

    How about some minus ions to help people relax?

    That or a marijuana bonfire.

  • 0

    SumoBob

    Blu ray wins again!

  • 0

    Miyaratmosphere

    How about some minus ions to help people relax?

    That or a marijuana bonfire. Brilliant! ahahahahaha

  • 0

    seesaw

    Do whatever you can to stop the suicide please! Yesterday we had to wait for about an hour to get to Shimokitazawa. It was a jinshin jiko on a Sunday....thought that was a bit unsual.

  • 0

    borscht

    The thing with fences won't do much either since they can just jump over them.

    The fences in Osaka are floor to ceiling so it'd be hard to jump over. But yes, suicidal people, if really resourceful, will find a way.

  • 0

    Yelnats

    2000 jumped. I think I was on 1999 of those trains. What a hassle.

  • 0

    javnation

    Fit bull bars to the trains.................

  • 0

    medievaltimes

    Nice intentions. Terrible solution.

  • 0

    ninjaboy

    What is needed are thick glass panals with sliding doors that run the entire length of the platform. Only when the doors to the train and the platform are aligned will they open. Works only in stations where, I assume from reading the article, most of these suicides happen.

  • 0

    WhatMeWorry

    At least they are in the process of doing the more effective solution--fences. Even if people do try to climb them, it might give someone nearby a chance to pull them down. Maybe line the tops of them with broken glass like fences in Europe? Will the lights make someone feel blue(r)? Maybe dress the platform agents as the Blue Man group? Plaster the opposing walls with photos of AKB48 members. Might give them a reason to live just one more day.

  • 0

    kirakira25

    Its true! After I hard day being pummelled by my boss, working hours and hours of unpaid overtime, having the OLs in the office giggle at my dress sense, on my way home to my wife who doesn`t like me and my kids who see me as nothing more than an ATM, I hang up my cellphone on the loan shark that is calling me again, fight my way kicking and punching to the front of the train queue, look up at all that dirty reinforced concrete and I see that blue light....instantly I am taken to the ocean and all thoughts of suicide are erased from my mind!

  • 0

    thedeath

    if railways want to go further to ensure safety, they should set up fences on platforms,...

    right on MR.Shinji Hira

  • 0

    mrsynik

    Barriers like those on the Marunouchi Line and the Monorail is what is required here. Why is it so difficult for JR East to understand this? Im sure a number of deaths here are actually not suicides but accidents due to chronically congested platforms and no barriers. I've seen so many close shaves at Shinjuku - it needs these desperately.

  • 0

    newjapanese

    Do not think it will work. Most do not kill themselves at the station they do it along the line. I know I tried back in May this year. Living in pain for the past 3 years because of major hip problems which I need operating on pushed me over the edge and I wanted to end the pain. The doctors here in Japan do not like giving out strong drugs for pain and leave most people in pain in pain until they become like me and end the pain by committing suicide. When you cannot sit, lay, stand or walk and the pain stops you from sleeping and your life is nothing but pain 24 hours a day 7 days a week and doctors will not help by giving you pain killers, then you take the matter in to your own hands and you try and end the pain yourself and for most it is a train that does the job.

    I was about to stand in front of an express train when someone jumped on me. Some workers driving pass seen and jumped me while one of the workers phoned the police. Never had handcuffs on before and do not want have them on every again.

    Finally the doctors have done something about the pain and put me of Morphine, I need dual hip replacement and I am only 41 years old the doctors will operate on me in Feb 2010, but I understand why people attempt or commit suicide and the blue lights will not help, It was a bright sunny day with a clear blue sky the day I attempted to end my life in front of a train and the blue sky did not have a claiming effect on me one bit.

  • 0

    lesenfant

    Yes people who want to die are very resourceful but I suspect that their concern is less with saving peoples lives and more with avoiding the disruptions to the many people on the trains.

    Sad thing.

  • 0

    imomofo

    Electric cattle fences.... Cheap, effective and will fry your hands at least if you try to cross over. That or invisible high energy laser beams that'll instantly vaporize any suicide attempters

  • 0

    PleasureGelf

    I'd say first work on the society to reduce social pressures, change the attitude to suicide, stop paying insurance to suicide families, help the desperate, support the broke, crack down on bullying in schools and then hang some nice blue lights for decoration, which by the way will make more harm than good. If somebody's considering suicide they want to end the pain and find peace. Blue light for them is like a 'this way' sign.

  • 0

    inakaRob

    some people mentioned this. A door system, so the actual rails are impossible to get to. The doors only open when a corresponding door on the train open, the rest of the space is a thick plexi glass wall. The thing is I can describe this system because some Japanese subways have them. why dont they use them on the trains. At the very least they make me feel safer, I don't really like walking that edge. It is so easy to trip, get pushed by a crowd, or drop something down there. drop something down there and its bye bye.

    I think it sucks that there are that many people who want to commit suicide. I used to be suicidal when i was younger and bi-polar had just hit me for the first time. I didn't know what I was dealing with. After a while I totally grew out of the idea of suicide. I still have my bi-polar, and its sucks, and I deal with it. Suicide is such a childish idea. not to mention. why a train??! you may be a failure and a quiter. Do you have to be the world biggest a$$hole all at the same time.

  • 0

    inakaRob

    could you imagine how traumatic an experience this is for train conductors. 2000 suicides by train. Thats a lot of traumatized conductors.

  • 0

    Weasel

    Would the suicide rate be any lower if the stations broadcast "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens instead?

  • 0

    Miyaratmosphere

    newjapanese at 12:25 PM JST - 16th November

    Do not think it will work. Most do not kill themselves at the station they do it along the line. I know I tried back in May this year. Living in pain for the past 3 years because of major hip problems which I need operating on pushed me over the edge and I wanted to end the pain. The doctors here in Japan do not like giving out strong drugs for pain and leave most people in pain in pain until they become like me and end the pain by committing suicide. When you cannot sit, lay, stand or walk and the pain stops you from sleeping and your life is nothing but pain 24 hours a day 7 days a week and doctors will not help by giving you pain killers, then you take the matter in to your own hands and you try and end the pain yourself and for most it is a train that does the job.

    I was about to stand in front of an express train when someone jumped on me. Some workers driving pass seen and jumped me while one of the workers phoned the police. Never had handcuffs on before and do not want have them on every again.

    Finally the doctors have done something about the pain and put me of Morphine, I need dual hip replacement and I am only 41 years old the doctors will operate on me in Feb 2010, but I understand why people attempt or commit suicide and the blue lights will not help, It was a bright sunny day with a clear blue sky the day I attempted to end my life in front of a train and the blue sky did not have a claiming effect on me one bit.

    I know what you mean, as I've been there too. pretty much "hanging"... yet there is nothing better than hanging out with people and try to have a good time, the blue lights wont soot-calm crap, only another fellow human being can...honestly, I feel so much better whenever I go out and meet some people. I'm here if you ever need someone.

  • 0

    Miyaratmosphere

    I think it sucks that there are that many people who want to commit suicide. I used to be suicidal when i was younger and bi-polar had just hit me for the first time. I didn't know what I was dealing with. After a while I totally grew out of the idea of suicide. I still have my bi-polar, and its sucks, and I deal with it. Suicide is such a childish idea. not to mention. why a train??! you may be a failure and a quiter. Do you have to be the world biggest a$$hole all at the same time.

    Unfortunately, Suicide is like a dark raven that lives within me..I know all about it, I've been there and I wouldn't want anyone I know die by suicide. If they only knew we can help each other, together. Yet I live to see another day...

  • 0

    Yelnats

    Kirakira, you crack me up.

    Its true! After I hard day being pummelled by my boss, working hours and hours of unpaid overtime, having the OLs in the office giggle at my dress sense, on my way home to my wife who doesn`t like me and my kids who see me as nothing more than an ATM, I hang up my cellphone on the loan shark that is calling me again, fight my way kicking and punching to the front of the train queue, look up at all that dirty reinforced concrete and I see that blue light....instantly I am taken to the ocean and all thoughts of suicide are erased from my mind!

    My wife and kids are the same. Wife hates me and kids think I am a cash cow. Sometimes when I see those headlamps coming down the tracks..... But no, I go home and get abused. So glad there are so many places to buy alcohol on the way home.

  • 0

    kirakira25

    @Yelnats - happy to be of service!

  • 0

    lincolnlklim

    Suicidal tendency is no different from catching a common cold. No matter how healthy and careful you are, there will bound to be time when you will catch a cold. Likewise, no matter how happy your life is, there is bound to be a time when everything seems so futile and you are stricken with suicidal thoughts. You don't prevent suicides by taking away the means such as banning knives, insecticides, cars or installing blue lights in stations. You should prevent suicides by making these people aware that there are help available. But alas, in Japan you cannot do this because there are no such help as the government is more concerned about suicide victims causing disruptions to the railway systems than the welfare of a human being.

  • 0

    womanforwomen

    Miyaratmosphere please stop for a moment and look at the things around you. Please recommend something for the people who are inclined to commit suicide.

  • 0

    Miyaratmosphere

    You should prevent suicides by making these people aware that there are help available. But alas, in Japan you cannot do this because there are no such help as the government is more concerned about suicide victims causing disruptions to the railway systems than the welfare of a human being.

    Winner Post!! ding ding ding

  • 0

    tkoind2

    Japan amazes me with the ability to miss the forest for the tree. People are jumping off platforms so Japan thinks, let's try to calm them down. When what Japan should be thinking about is "WHY!"

    So here are some answers you may want to look into and find some solutions that may actually stem the tide of suicides.

    1. Mental Health Care: Do you know how many people go to fortune tellers for help instead of mental health care professionals? Ask around and you may be shocked by what you find out. Japan needs clinical social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. And it needs this followed up with a huge campaign to make seeing a shrink trendy and healthy. With as trendy as Japan is, this could work to get people out to seek help. Heck... make it sound like something for the rich, famous and fashionable and Tokyoites will be on it like LV bags.

    2. Work life balance. The root of much of Japan's evils from stress to relationship problems to declining birthrate. THIS NEEDs to be looked at people. Can it be any more obvious?

    3. Freedom of change: Should be a constitutional right. People often feel trapped in their jobs, roles or in the social expectations they have to live up to. Japan needs to teach people to be adaptable and to make change a good thing. Then maybe some people who feel trapped enough to see death as the only way out, will find other ways to change.

    4. Teach that suicide is painful, bloody, long lasting and wrong. Educate people about what jumping in front of a train is like. Explain the ripping, tearing, dragging and mutilation that goes along with it. Explain that many, many live to feel every second of it before they die. And let them know the mental and emotional horror is causes everyone who is exposed to it. Japan's culture should help with this one.

    Don't waste time or money on blue lights. The most it will do is calm down non-suicidal people like me who are already sleepy and calm during our commute. In that case, how about some nice herb tea instead?

  • 0

    getsy

    Well the Japanese think Green lights are Blue...so thats no good... They will see the Blue and go................. jump...

  • 0

    nemoflow

    Yeah, recently I mentioned to one of my Japanese friends here that I knew a mental health care worker (who is also Japanese).

    Honestly, I have had about 11 people email my phone asking for an introduction to this guy. I replied at first with the comment 'Surely you have a greater ability to sort this out in your own country in your own language, why are you turning to a foreigner for help?', but then I realised that anything even slightly like a weakness in Japan is a massive taboo, so I did my best to help out. Shocking how many people, even in my reasonably sized social circle are hiding serious mental issues. Sad.

    There must be a giant, giant depression rate here if it was ever allowed to be measured...

    Scary.

  • 0

    stirfry

    doubt it will help but at least the tracks will be better lit for the cleanup crews

  • 0

    kirakira25

    nemoflow, tkoind2 et al - you are so right. When I was teaching English, believe me, for the vast majority of the private students English language was at best 50% of their reason for seeing me. The rest was all about offloading things they couldn`t tell anyone else.

    They told me they don`t feel uncomfortable or judged when they talk to a non-Japanese. They went away feeling lighter, and I went away shocked and enlightened!

    I have learned so much about real Japanese culture through these "classes". I am watching a close family member drink themselves into oblivion right now, (NOT my husband!) just because they are too proud to come to me and let me help them.

    Moderator: Back on topic please.

  • 0

    kirakira25

    Oops - hit submit! To finish: It is breaking my heart, but no way will they come to me - I am just too "uchi" for them to reveal their true self, and yet I so want to help.

    Even my midwife has been telling me stuff!!!!

    This problem is endemic in this culture and there is a DESPERATE need for proper, organised, professional help.

  • -1

    iLoveNippon

    There was a suicide (I assumed at the time) on the Yamanote this morning. Someone went under the train at Meguro Station before 9am today. So sad.

  • 0

    dolphingirl

    kirakira: Nice bit of sarcasm in your first post.

    newjapanese: Hang in there! After the hip replacement, you will recover and be mobile without pain again. No matter how bad things get, remember 'This too shall pass'

    lincolnklim: Spot on! Just what I wanted to say.

    Psychological counselling must be readily available to everyone and people should never feel ashamed or embarassed for needing help. We all go through tough times. In Western culture, it's not unusual for people to seek therapy occasionally when life gets overwelming. The attitude towards this has to change. Suicide is not an acceptable way out. It leaves many grieving people behind. Japanese people need to know that they can talk openly and honestly to someone, a friend or a professional, about their problems.

    Putting in these blue lights (especially when there is no scientific proof that they actually prevent suicides) is a ridiculously unreasonable solution. Rather, give people the resources to support themselves. Tell people that getting help is okay!

  • 0

    dolphingirl

    For free, anonymous telephone counselling call TELL (Tokyo English Life Line) : 03-5774-0992

  • 0

    andrewtokyo

    An interesting post but, although a tragic loss of life, this story is typical of most media reports about suicide in Japan over the last ten years in that it focus on preventing a method of suicide rather than investigating the underlying causes of why people are killing themselves in such terrible high numbers every year in Japan.

    It is not something new that today workers in Japan are committing suicide because of depression and the stress of overwork. Karaoshi is death through overwork resulting in the worker literally dying on the job. The suicide of thousands of workers every year due to depression and overworking are two aspects of a problem that have existed side by side in Japan for over a decade. There was a major change in the suicide rate in Japan, but it happened over ten years ago.I am a JSCCP clinical psychologist and JFP psychotherapist working in Japan for over 20 years. I would like to put forward a perspective on some of the main reasons behind the unacceptably high suicide numbers Japan and so will limit my comments to what I know about here in Japan.

    Mental health professionals in Japan have long known that the reason for the unnecessarily high suicide rate in Japan is due to unemployment, bankruptcies, and the increasing levels of stress on businessmen and other salaried workers who have suffered enormous hardship in Japan since the bursting of the stock market bubble here that peaked around 1997. Until that year Japan had annual suicide of rate figures between 22,000 and 24,000 each year. Following the bursting of the stock market and the long term economic downturn that has followed here since the suicide rate in 1998 increased by around 35% and since 1998 the number of people killing themselves each year in Japan has consistently remained well over 30,000 each and every year to the present day.

    The current worldwide recession is of course impacting Japan too, so unless the new administration initiates very proactive and well funded local and nationwide suicide prevention programs and other mental health care initiatives, including tackling the widespread problem of clinical depression suffered by so many of the general population, it is very difficult to foresee the previous government's stated target to reduce the suicide rate to around 23,000 by the year 2016 as being achievable. On the contrary the suicide rate could even get even worse is more is not done to prevent this terrible loss of life.Unless the new administration initiates very proactive and well-funded local and nationwide suicide prevention programs and other mental health care initiatives, including tackling the widespread problem of clinical depression suffered by so many of the general population, it is very difficult to foresee the previous government's stated goal of reducing the suicide rate to around 23,000 by 2016 as achievable.

    The current numbers licensed psychiatrists (around 13,000), Japan Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists clinical psychologists (19,830 as of 2009), and Psychiatric Social Workers (39,108 as of 2009) must indeed be increased. In order for professional mental health counseling and psychotherapy services to be covered for depression and other mental illnesses by public health insurance it would seem advisable that positive action is taken to resume and complete the negotiations on how to achieve national licensing for clinical psychologists in Japan through the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and not just the Ministry of Education as is the current situation. These discussions were ongoing between all concerned mental health professional authorities that in the ongoing select committee and ministerial levels that were ongoing during the Koizumi administration. With the current economic recession adding even more hardship and stress in the lives its citizens, now would seem to be a prime opportunity for the responsible Japanese to take a pro-active approach to finally providing government approval for national licensing for clinical psychologists who provide mental health care counseling and psychotherapy services to the people of Japan. During these last ten years of these relentlessly high annual suicide rate numbers the English media seems in the main to have done little more than have someone goes through the files and do a story on the so-called suicide forest or internet suicide clubs and copycat suicides (whether cheap heating fuel like charcoal briquettes or even cheaper household cleaning chemicals) and mirrors at stations, and now lights at stations, without focusing on the bigger picture and need for effective action and solutions.

    Economic hardship, bankruptcies and unemployment have been the main cause of suicide in Japan over the last 10 years, as the well detailed reports behind the suicide rate numbers that have been issued every year until now by the National Police Agency in Japan show only to clearly if any journalist is prepared to learn Japanese or get a bilingual researcher to do the research to get to the real heart of the tragic story of the long term and unnecessarily high suicide rate problem in Japan.

    I would also like to suggest that as many Japanese people have very high reading skills in English that any articles dealing with suicide in Japan could usefully provide contact details for hotlines and support services for people who are depressed and feeling suicidal.

    Useful telephone numbers and links for residents of Tokyo and Japan who speak Japanese and are feeling depressed or suicidal and need to get in touch with a mental health professional qualified in Japan:
    Inochi no Denwa (Lifeline Telephone Service):

    Japan: 0120-738-556 Tokyo: 3264 4343

    AMDA International Medical Information Center:

    http://amda-imic.com/

    Tokyo Counseling Services:

    http://tokyocounseling.com/english/

    http://tokyocounseling.com/jp/

    Counseling and Psychotherapy in Tokyo and Japan:

    http://www.counselingjapan.com

  • 0

    gaijintraveller

    If JR really wants to cut down on suicides, they should remove some of the irritations that must drive people so suicide. Noise is the prime culprit. First stations should end their competition to produce the most annoying music when train doors are going to close. Then should should stop shouting every single announcement. A gentle female voice would be more effective as people may actually listen to it.

    Then they could stop irritating people once they get on the train. It is not necessary to tell people at every station to turn off their mobile by the silver seats. There are already signs that convey that message visually.

  • 0

    ablestmage

    I'm not sure "stem" is the word the headline writer should have used. Stem means both "stop" (such as to remove stems from cherries) and "start" (an event that stems from committee suggestions).

  • 0

    suebe36d

    Anything but the basi essentialwhich is social support to get back on track.

  • 0

    mrsynik

    If JR really wants to cut down on suicides, they should remove some of the irritations that must drive people so suicide. Noise is the prime culprit. First stations should end their competition to produce the most annoying music when train doors are going to close. Then should should stop shouting every single announcement. A gentle female voice would be more effective as people may actually listen to it.

    Then they could stop irritating people once they get on the train. It is not necessary to tell people at every station to turn off their mobile by the silver seats. There are already signs that convey that message visually.

    Sorry but this is the winning post!

  • 0

    bamboohat

    This is a foolish waste of tax money. It isn't based on anything other than some vague feeling that it might work. Blue lights. Maybe they should switch to those red laser lights that sent everybody into siezures a few years ago. that would be a hoot.

    And they should consider suicide only trains, so that people that do choose to off themselves don't inconvenience others.

  • 0

    dbung10

    they could just hire the 'free hugs' people to stand at the edge of the suicide end of the platform. that may help. at the very least some of the suicidees might take a few of those annoying hippies with them.

  • 0

    30061015

    Blue lights for blue people? What is a life worth? Why not just hand out money?

  • 0

    tkoind2

    andrewtokyo. Some great information.

    I would challenge one thing. While the economic crisis is indeed a major factor, I believe that a considerable number of suicides are resulting from the increasing conflict between cultural/societal expectations and the reality of life in modern Japan.

    Japanese culture can be restrictive and I believe many people feel trapped in roles or expectations that they can no longer meet due to the state of the economy, changes in the fabric of Japanese society and in the ability of people to fit neatly into previously expected social and personal roles.

    Add to this the increasingly disfuncational state of interpersonal relationships and the self imposed isolation that social constraints impose on most urban people, and you have a lot of lonely hopeless people out there.

    We can and should blame the economy and the work life of Japan. But it is time that we also started to blame the disconnection between archaic Japanese cultural expectations and the realities of the modern Japanese world that people live and exist within.

    Fundamental change is necessary. Starting with finding ways to connect people and protect them from the dangerous isolation that often leads them to suicide.

  • 0

    dolphingirl

    tkoind2: Excellent point. There definitely seems to be a gap between the expectations and reality. And I think you are also right that a lot of people feel trapped and powerless, which happen to be signs that a person might commit suicide.

    I think the attitides of 'ganbatte' coupled with 'shoganai' is also a dangerous combination. People feel that they have to fight, fight, fight, and do it all perfectly but at the same time they don't feel that they have any real control over their lives.

    A friend of mine, who is Japanese, is currently going through a tough time. Her boss is pressuring her to work like 'normal' people (ie. 12 hours a day) and is expecting her performance to be on par with older, more experienced workers. He told her that if she can't do the work she will have to become a part-time worker (with a salary which would probably be extremely difficult to live off of) Plus, she can't search for another job because she works so late every night. She is exhausted every day, suffering from stress-related health problems and only sleeps on the weekends so she can't see her friends.

    Unfortunately, I don't think she is alone in her situation. I really wish Japanese society wasn't so hard on its people. We are human! We are not perfect, we have weaknesses, we get tired and stressed, we need holidays and hobbies, we need connections with people and time for meaningful relationships. I pray for my friend and for others like her that Japan will wake up and smell the coffee and realize what is really important in this life: love, relationships and relaxation & fun!

  • 0

    Kameleon

    Must go to pretty lights

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    WTF? Are they serious? "Oh, look at the pretty blue lights. I don't want to die now." - Gawd forbid, they should actually do something positive like increasing education, support and public awareness. That would make too much sense, would it not?

    +It's more likely to increase the rate of suicides in a final act of defiance from the 'baka majime' Japanese.

  • 0

    sundoor

    Now, every time I see one of those blue lights I'll be reminded what they're for and get depressed. Sea? Sky? No. Suicide. Thanks.

  • 0

    yamashinaku

    Just like at my station, they have black cat cut out figures hanging from the station ceiling to "scare away" the pigeons. Doesn't work.

  • 0

    Shaolin7

    Some very good informative posts in here, thank you guys. Once again, you've all made some good suggestions but they will require fundamental shifts. The recent election seems to bear some positive signs, but once again it is ultimately up to the Japanese themselves to work for this change. Not that anyone here is doing it, but I do so mislike the false air of cultural and moral superiority that comes with some of the postings, whether is is from the Western or Eastern perspective.

  • 0

    isthistheend

    I've lived here a long time. When I arrived, it was the 80's, the economy was booming, being Japanese really meant something. Doors were unlocked, at least mine was, and I never felt threatened. Times changed and the economy tanked. But in all honesty, I don't think the real nature of the Japense poeple have changed. They've just had their options and money flow so limited that its now a matter of survival of the fittest. Those who can't see any hope down the line commit suicide. Before there were more options. Now very few, and even the gov't is being run by people who'd have to be considered odd-couple even as recent as a few years ago.Where are the Japanese leaders today? The Nagashima's of the Giants, the great Chiyonofuji Sumo Yokozuna who thought only of winning, though not being the largest physique, the great Buddhist priests of the past who taught that poverty was a noble and even to be sought after way of living. Internte world has brought information to us abundantly, but our souls are very undernourished. That is the reason for suicides in my opinion. Can Japan find its way back to its roots, some of which attracted not a few of us here, I believe. The Business leaders of today, the Keidanren and the huge coorporations also have a tremendous debt to this countries society. Why has no one come out and stood up for the common person like Boras Yeltsin on a tank and say, This far and no farther. We will stand for Japan of honor, and we will start with this building today and go forward. Something concrete is needed. Not just blue lights, though JR is desparate for something. At the same time 8 EIGHT MIllion a DAY. Its mind-boggling. They should definitely stop that music da-da-da-do-da-do-da da x 4 refrains before every door is shut. How about Kitaro music. Or Vivaldi's Four Seasons like they do at Oimachi station. It seems much better. And yes, STOP all the xxxx repeatable announcements at each station and in-between ad naseum already. Heaven help tokyo, and heaven help Japan. And let the Japanese wake-up and see what a pity their detached and seemingly non-caring attitudes has wrought.

  • 0

    southsakai

    I'm ready to donate some warm free hugs :-))

    they could just hire the 'free hugs' people to stand at the edge of the suicide end of the platform. that may help. at the very least some of the suicidees might take a few of those annoying hippies with them.

  • 0

    southsakai

    Very well Said!

    I've lived here a long time. When I arrived, it was the 80's, the economy was booming, being Japanese really meant something. Doors were unlocked, at least mine was, and I never felt threatened. Times changed and the economy tanked. But in all honesty, I don't think the real nature of the Japense poeple have changed. They've just had their options and money flow so limited that its now a matter of survival of the fittest. Those who can't see any hope down the line commit suicide. Before there were more options. Now very few, and even the gov't is being run by people who'd have to be considered odd-couple even as recent as a few years ago.Where are the Japanese leaders today? The Nagashima's of the Giants, the great Chiyonofuji Sumo Yokozuna who thought only of winning, though not being the largest physique, the great Buddhist priests of the past who taught that poverty was a noble and even to be sought after way of living. Internte world has brought information to us abundantly, but our souls are very undernourished. That is the reason for suicides in my opinion. Can Japan find its way back to its roots, some of which attracted not a few of us here, I believe. The Business leaders of today, the Keidanren and the huge coorporations also have a tremendous debt to this countries society. Why has no one come out and stood up for the common person like Boras Yeltsin on a tank and say, This far and no farther. We will stand for Japan of honor, and we will start with this building today and go forward. Something concrete is needed. Not just blue lights, though JR is desparate for something. At the same time 8 EIGHT MIllion a DAY. Its mind-boggling. They should definitely stop that music da-da-da-do-da-do-da da x 4 refrains before every door is shut. How about Kitaro music. Or Vivaldi's Four Seasons like they do at Oimachi station. It seems much better. And yes, STOP all the xxxx repeatable announcements at each station and in-between ad naseum already. Heaven help tokyo, and heaven help Japan. And let the Japanese wake-up and see what a pity their detached and seemingly non-caring attitudes has wrought.

  • 0

    nigelboy

    Japan amazes me with the ability to miss the forest for the tree. People are jumping off platforms so Japan thinks, let's try to calm them down. When what Japan should be thinking about is "WHY!"

    What amazes me is people here using the Japan=East Japan Railway Co formula.

  • 0

    nigelboy

    Add to this the increasingly disfuncational state of interpersonal relationships and the self imposed isolation that social constraints impose on most urban people, and you have a lot of lonely hopeless people out there.

    Except that it's the "rural" population/prefectures that have the higher suicide rates.

  • 0

    Icewind007

    I don't believe this is so much to stop people from committing suicide rather than preventing them from causing train delays.

  • 0

    kinniku

    Except that it's the "rural" population/prefectures that have the higher suicide rates.

    True. However, the majority of suicides by 'train' are in the urban areas such as Tokyo (because more people ride them and there are more trains to ride), which is why they are using these lights to stem suicides.

  • 0

    blvtzpk

    Except that it's the "rural" population/prefectures that have the higher suicide rates.

    Rather than point out what make be a statistical misinterpretation, would you care to conjecture why this is happening amongst the rural population? Would it be that they living with a "disfuncational state of interpersonal relationships and...self imposed isolation" even though they're out in the sticks?

  • 0

    blvtzpk

    Except that it's the "rural" population/prefectures that have the higher suicide rates.

    Correction:

    Rather than point out what may be a statistical misinterpretation, would you care to conjecture why this is happening amongst the rural population? Would it be that they living with a "disfuncational state of interpersonal relationships and...self imposed isolation" even though they're out in the sticks?

  • 0

    kinniku

    blvtzpk,

    I know you did not ask me, but I hope you don't mind my answering your question, which I do think is an interesting one. I think one of the main reasons for the larger number in the rural areas would be an even greater lack of gainful employment. This is also the reason young people generally choose to leave the rural areas in favor of urban ones. Of course, this is but one of many factors (such as the forclosure and failure of more and more families farms).

  • 0

    WhatMeWorry

    I'm coming out of a rough three year-period and live in inaka (where JR has trains-on topic!) Blue lights, despite the effort, won't help because when you've made up your mind, you've hit bottom and have gone through hell, you aquire tunnel vision and notice nothing around you save the way out. As many have posted, I wish there were more counseling available to Japanese and others and not just in the cities. Also, the view that counseling as an aid and not for "crazies," thus the stigma. This open view of therapy is new for the West also as I remember as a child that no one would be caught dead going to a "shrink." Now, everyone brags about their therapy sessions.

  • 0

    kinniku

    WhatMeWorry,

    I am glad you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after three years. You have brought up some very excellent points. One of which is the general stigma against psychiatric therapy. This is slowly changing in Japan as well. However, there is still quite a way to go.

    Unfortunately, even if the lights are effective, the effect would be temporary. Thus, it could possibly end up stemming people commiting suicides in train stations, but not necessarily stemming them after they have left the stations.

  • 0

    isthistheend

    Southsakai, thanks for the complement! By the way, tonight as I was riding home, and sitting on the row of seats where everyone sits next to each other (as opposed to single seats or shinkansen style), an lady a few years older than me begrudgingly (it seemed) sat down besides me and then hogged the narrow arm rest that exists only at that one spot in the row. I was in no mood to protest so I just gave it up, even though as I mentioned I was sitting there first. I think this is a very typcial miserliness of the J-people that is now making itself more visible with these tough economic times, which I also am enduring thank you. In conversations around me too, I hear alot of anti-western (specifically USA) comments to make themselves feel better. The ware-ware feel good type of comments. "I don't listen to USA ipods" etc. But then alot of people are studying English papers on the train, obviously hoping someday somehow to get out of here for employment in other locations. But the job market is tough EVERYWHERE nowadays except for maybe China and India. Anyways, I'd like to say, that the lights on JR are one idea, but not a very effective one for stemming suicides as has been pointed out. If we are to cure this planet and this country, we're going to really have to join forces, east and west, black, yellow, white and red, and get over this provincialism. Don't you think? Or is that IMPOSSIBLE on these islands, for another 1000 years?

  • 0

    realist

    Blue lights to stem the flood of suicides? Ive heard some zany things in my time, but this ranks among the zaniest.

  • 0

    pathat

    This is nonsense.

    The only way to reduce the number of suicides in Japan is to improve the overall socio-economic conditions that have led to Japan having 30,000+ suicides for more than a decade running.

  • 0

    30061015

    2,000 people committed suicide in Japan by jumping in front of a train

    My father was a railroad engineer for 40 years in NYC when a teenage girl lay down in the tracks in front of his speeding train. There was no way to stop in time. When the train eventually stopped, he went back to confirm what happened after he radioed it in. It was three weeks before he could make himself go back to work.

    How many railroad engineers are suffering trauma and nightmares as a result of the 2,000 horrific suicides in front of Jtrains?

  • 0

    isthistheend

    30061015, that's the point! This proble will not be fixed by using lights, unless those lights are inside people's brains to step up to the plate and confront this dilemma facing the people and our lives today. Think about it. Japan has safety the envy of many countries. Why should people take their own lives, is a paradox too deep to answer. But for beginnings, how about developing a compassionate people, a step beyond the ware-ware DAKE mentality.

  • 0

    30061015

    isthistheend

    Why should people take their own lives

    Because they believe that they have no other choices left. Its one thing to be been boxed in by the constricting economy, but even more damning to be hostage to the abstract perceptions that are reinforced by social stigma ( the need to "gaman" to the gates of Hell) while denying the stress, depression and mental instability that go with it. Until Japan realizes that it is wound up too tightly, the country will continue to hemorrhage.

  • 0

    kirakira25

    I think this is a combination of what 30061015 says - that Japan is wound up too tightly, but also my own theory I have been considering for a while now:

    I think with the advent of the internet, global communications and so forth, the Japanese, previously isolated, have particularly in recent years had the opportunity to be exposed more and more to what is going on outside Japan`s borders - and it must be pretty galling to see happy, free people around the developed world while their own economy tanks and they have all the social and corporate, not to mention financial pressures on them.

    Not putting this very well (brain not working well right now!) but it is just a theory I am thinking about....

  • 0

    sf2k

    play some jazz too while they're at it. A Kind of Blue

  • 0

    Hirota56

    Qoute Goethe- the philosopher(sic):

    "Let there be Light".

  • 0

    Netgaijin

    I have another suggestion.

    Maybe they can put up movable bars, like they do in front of car parks, which go up and down at the press of a button, about a meter before the boarding gate of the trains? It would be closed before the train completely stops.

    It would be an expensive option, but if people can be stopped to go near the rails before the train stops, you will not have people jumping in front of the train anymore. This can be manned by the same pushers and shovers who are employed to assist boarding. Though some will dodge and jump, I think you will solve the majority of the problem.

    Of course better education and counseling can solve the problem at the root, but before that, this has to do.

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