No. of suicides drops below 30,000 for first time in 15 years

TOKYO —

The number of people who committed suicide in Japan in 2012 was 27,858, dropping below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years, the Cabinet Office said in a white paper on Tuesday. The figure was 2,800 fewer than in 2011.

However, the white paper said the number of people in their 20s who took their own lives increased, with 149 killing themselves last year.

The white paper attributed the spike in suicides among people in their 20s to work-related problems, including stress due to overwork and an inability by unemployed people to find a new job.

Japan has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, according to the OECD.

Japan Today

  • 5

    Yubaru

    Considering that the country is aging, and population is dropping significantly this really isn't that surprising,

    I believe that this is more due to those reasons than anything that the government has done to assist those who need help with psychological issues.

  • 4

    sfjp330

    Article states: "The number of people who committed suicide in Japan in 2012 was 27,858"

    That equal out to 76 suicides per day, or 1 every 20 minutes. I'd wager to guess it's actually far higher than that, that those numbers are grossly under-reported. The pressure in Japan is unbearable for those who can not make the transition.

  • 2

    Get Real

    The pressure in Japan is unbearable for those who can not make the transition.

    Hi sfjp330, I'm keen to learn what transitions you have in mind? Thanks!

  • 8

    sfjp330

    Get Real... the transition in Japan is from finishing school to working in Japanese companies and commuting on the sardine packed train every day. If you ever worked in Japan, you will know real soon what transition means.

  • 1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Maybe good news??

  • 7

    kimuzukashiiiii

    Its still 27000 too many...

  • 2

    marcels

    Completely agree with Yubaru,it,s a very important Statistic when considering the number....

  • 0

    NeonFraction

    You have to keep in mind a great number of murders are reported as 'suicides.' To a frightening extent.

  • 3

    InControl

    Adding to Yubaru's comment on changing demographic and decreasing population, perhaps another factor is the 2011 disasters. The shock and high death toll may have led to a period of reflection, concern for others and greater valuation of ones life which carried into 2012 and reflect, in part, the deceased suicides?

  • -1

    Ian Robertson

    On the one hand it's good news. However, the reasons given for the suicides among the young are simply 'wallpapering'; the real reason is the need that people in this part of the world have to save face at all costs rather than admit they have a problem and ask for support in dealing with it.

  • 0

    jforce

    No support system, nor are people confident in using what little help there is out there. @Ian: yup.

  • 0

    StormR

    What measures are actually being taken to reduce suicides ? Apart from a few posters here n there, there doesnt seem to be much help, assistance or info offered,

    I was told if you report some one to the police for being suicidal they will do nothing as just being suicidal is not a crime and they wont get involved in prevention.

    Seems more needs to be done by health, police and community groups to assist and counsel those in unstable states of mind.

  • -3

    Farmboy

    I agree with Yubaru that shrinking population is a big factor. It would be interesting to see if someone could exclude non-permanent foreigners from both population and suicide figures, and then come up with an actual suicide figure over time to see what was going on.

    <>http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/04/17/national/japans-population-falls-by-record-level/#.UcD6itg7vs0>

  • 3

    Wakarimasen

    Excellent news.

  • -1

    Mick_Hardwick

    sfjp330,

    What transition are you referring to?

  • 2

    Yubaru

    You have to keep in mind a great number of murders are reported as 'suicides.' To a frightening extent.

    I for one would be very interested in seeing some actual statistics regarding this, unless it's just speculation or rumor-mongering.

  • 3

    Franck TheGaijin

    still way too many

  • -1

    rickyvee

    why am i not surprised to see no comments congratulating japan on bringing down the suicide rate? instead a lot of people are guessing this has to do with the population decrease.

    the negative population growth, which was estimated at 0.077% in 2012 (http://www.indexmundi.com/japan/demographics_profile.html) simply cannot be the main reason for the dramatic 10% decrease in suicides. that simply does not correlate. neg population growth won't dramatically affect japan for at least another decade or two.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Adding to Yubaru's comment on changing demographic and decreasing population, perhaps another factor is the 2011 disasters. The shock and high death toll may have led to a period of reflection, concern for others and greater valuation of ones life which carried into 2012 and reflect, in part, the deceased suicides?

    Could very well but. One thing to consider however is a spike in suicides due to the lack of assistance for those still displaced from not only the earthquake and tsunami but Fukushima disaster too. The numbers in those regions I would bet are up across the board as there is little the government seems to be doing to alleviate their suffering. In fact the government is making it worse when a minister yesterday made a public comment stating that no one has died because of Fukushima, which was insensitive as hell and wrong too, as suicides are increasing among those same people because of Fukushima. Very sad situation there.

    It would be interesting to see if someone could exclude non-permanent foreigners from both population and suicide figures, and then come up with an actual suicide figure over time to see what was going on.

    I dont follow your thinking here and maybe you could explain it, non-permanent residents are excluded from population totals already I do believe, plus and here is where I dont follow I think, but as I read this I get the impression that you are inferring that temporary stay foreigners are committing a large number of suicides that skew the overall totals.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

  • -1

    therougou

    I'd wager to guess it's actually far higher than that, that those numbers are grossly under-reported.

    That's possible, but we also know the j-police like to settle murder cases as suicides, as NeonFraction stated above. So the real number could be less.

  • -1

    Farmboy

    why am i not surprised to see no comments congratulating japan on bringing down the suicide rate?

    Because the figures, given as a number, not as a percent of non-foreign population, are not detailed, so we just don't know if the suicide rate is really down so much. The latest figures on population are also quite different than those you quoted. Sorry I didn't form the link properly in my post above, but the main point was:

    Japan’s population fell by a record 0.22 percent to 127.515 million as of last Oct. 1, while people aged 65 or older surpassed the 30 million mark for the first time, the government said Tuesday.

  • 2

    zichi

    Japan does not have the highest suicide rate?

  • 0

    Farmboy

    dont follow your thinking here and maybe you could explain it, non-permanent residents are excluded from population totals already I do believe

    Yubaru,

    What I meant was, in the article I quoted, they include this point below ("which also included foreign nationals"), which makes comparisons of what is happening difficult. I really don't know the effect of the foreigners being included, one way or another, but if we want to make a statement about Japan's suicide rate over time, it seemed that excluding that population would give a clearer picture.

    The decline of 284,000 in the total population, which also included foreign nationals, was the largest of its kind since officials began compiling comparable data in 1950.

  • 2

    lucabrasi

    @zichi

    Last I heard it was South Korea.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Because the figures, given as a number, not as a percent of non-foreign population, are not detailed, so we just don't know if the suicide rate is really down so much

    Depending upon what statistics one looks at the foreign population of Japan is roughly 1.4% to 1.7% of the population, which is roughly a bit over 2 million people.

    Now out of those 2 million people, to have any real effect on the overall statistics of suicides committed in Japan the number would have to be really high, astronomical in fact percentage wise, and yet you keep on inferring that the foreign population skews the suicide rate or total numbers which in reality and fact does not.

  • 6

    zichi

    Last I heard it was South Korea.

    I thought it was Greenland, then South Korea, with Japan about No10?

  • 0

    lucabrasi

    The rate's very high up there, but some would say it's not a 100% fully-fledged independent nation.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Farmboy sorry I was typing my response while yours posted.

  • 3

    the_sheriff

    Wait, didn't AKB appear in suicide prevention ads last year?

  • -4

    Mike Critchley

    ...waits patiently for Abe to appropriate this news as proof that Abenomics is on track...

  • -2

    some14some

    not a positive sign since Japan's population also declined by 280,000 in 2012 (source NHK).

  • 1

    mstaana64

    Is this news something to be proud of?? I mean its still suicide.

  • 0

    thkanner

    why those numbers are down? numbers of marriages drop !! many guys not interested in marriage, kids etc... anymore, the so called grassman society where guys rather play games, drink with buddies and not be the home slave who works and gets his 30000yen monthly pocket money. more than 50% of all guys belong to this group now. less stress means less suicides. i was lauging when i heard many stories about husbands who work like crazy just to get about 30000yen monthly pocket money plus a 500yen lunch money each day and the women hang around in afternoon in upmarket cafes and having a good time.

    finally guys starting to wake up. and this is the reason why the numbers drop.

  • 0

    bruinfan

    Abenomics effect?

    Actually I like thkanner's comment above...

  • 0

    Thomas Weisbach

    @the_sheriff yes, I think we can attribute the decline in suicides to AKB.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    Wait, didn't AKB appear in suicide prevention ads last year?

    Reverse psychology!

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    I'm surprised and pleased to see the overall rate dropped, but if the trend is suicides among younger people increasing then Japan is going to face even bigger problems than we all expect in the future. I can completely understand the stresses they face -- whether working or unable to find work -- and aside from jobs opening up when the amakudari finally retire (and I don't mean retire and keep working, I mean STOP working altogether) -- the system will collapse unless taxes are raised across the board, overtime increases (and enforcement is even more lax than now), etc. And how on earth will these young people raise families when everything is taken from them to cater to the aging?

    The only answer is to import, en masse, foreign workers, but we all know how quickly that wheel is turning. I seriously fear for the future of this nation.

  • 0

    Tahoochi

    YubaruJun. 19, 2013 - 07:12AM JST

    Considering that the country is aging, and population is dropping significantly this really isn't that surprising,

    Yubaru, the decrease in the suicide rate far exceeds that of the decrease in population. (9% vs. 0.2%)

    However, like Smith said, it's the increase for younger kids in their 20s that's concerning. I don't know about other companies, but the company I work for has really started to focus on mental health issues in the past 2 years or so (better late than never). Employers (large AND small) definitely still have a lot of work to do to improve their younger employees' well-being in Japan..... which is not going to happen overnight.

  • -1

    Gaijin Desi

    an inability by unemployed people to find a new job.

    However this is not the real issue. You can add or blame higher living cost to suicidal rate. Time has came where Japan need to learn from other Asian developing countries. How people are surviving there without anything (no money, no house, no food). Instead of a Role Model for other developing countries, Japan is now a case study for after effect or side effect of being a developed nation.

  • 0

    cechanju

    There are huge efforts being made.

    http://www.saving10000.com/

  • 0

    OneHapa

    "suicides drops below 30,000 for first time in 15 years"

    That's nearly half a million people. Tragic and pretty significant considering the decline in population.

  • -2

    YankeeX

    Suicide is not on the decline. In Japan, a suicide is only a suicide upon examination by a medical examiner aka a doctor. Otherwise, it is not. The reported cases of suicide is inaccurate due to the over burdened healthcare system. Either way, it's very sad.

  • 0

    sushilover

    A cause for celebration? Even one is one too many.

  • -2

    sfjp330

    Even when the economy was going great in Japan in the early 90's, the suicide rate was around 22,000 to 24,000 a year. If they believe they have failed at something or will be a burden to their family, they will commit this act. Unfortunately in Japanese culture there's no room for human error. The increasing levels of stress on businessmen and other workers who have suffered enormous hardship in Japan.

  • 0

    mitoguitarman

    When I think that in the last 15 years almost a half a million Japanese have committed suicide, and more to come, it's so sad. And it's astonishing that a lot more is not done to support these people, especially considering the country is worrying so much about the dropping population numbers. Shoganai? No, Motainai.

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