Sunday, November 25, 2012

Suicide in Japan

To be shameful, Japan is deemed to be a suicide rich country.

In fact, over 30,000 people have killed themselves in a year since 1999 in Japan. It is a big problem. So the government makes an effort to prevent suicide. Basic Act on Suicide Prevention was enforced in 2006. However, in spite of all efforts of the government the number of suicide did not decrease.

Discussion about suicide is very difficult. I think many people fail to set the point of discussion to begin with.
The questions are…
1. Is Japan suicide-rich?
2. If 1 is true, why?
3. Is suicide in Japan increasing?
4. If 3 is true, why?
5. What should we do?

To be honest, I must accept that Japan is a suicide-rich country. According to the OECD data or other facts, Japan is one of the worst in developed country at suicide rate.
(OECD StatExtracts)
(List of suicide rates in Wikipedia)

Then, why does suicide occur so frequently in Japan? It is not easy to answer this.
Besides Japan, Korea and Russia have also a high rate of suicide. It is also said that suicide rates are high in communist countries. So some researchers claim that religious mind is related to suicide rates. Suicide is strictly forbidden in Christian culture. In the old culture in Japan, suicide as “hara-kiri” was a means to take responsibility. Nowadays, many people commit a suicide for a humiliating failure in jobs. It is not rational at all, I think. But not a few people think death compensate the failure and deletes all responsibility. Most people are tolerable for suicide, and the idea that suicide is absolute sin is not common in Japan.
But it is only a hypothesis.
The relationship between depressive disorder and suicide is also discussed. The more depression, the more suicide, it is obvious. But what cause depression has not clarified yet. Fewer daylight hours are positively related to depression. It may be one of the reasons of the high rate of suicide in Russia.

By the way, is it true that the suicide rate is increasing in Japan?

(* Statistical data do not exist in the term of WWII.)

Many people claim that politic problems cause many suicides in Japan.  Of course 30,000 people are not ignorable. But thinking about absolute number of suicide is not appropriate. The suicide rate is increasing with aging. The average age in Japan is rising. So suicide rate is to be raised naturally. Moreover, population itself in Japan had been increasing till 2005. We have to talk about not absolute numbers, but rate of suicide.

(* Statistical data do not exist in the term of WWII.)

In fact, the suicide rate in Japan is repeating the vertical movement.
But why?

One of credible hypothesis is the influence of national economic activity. After WWII, Japan had experienced a great recovery and rapid development in the 1960s. In this term suicide rates were relatively low. In 1999, Japan entered into severe depression and suicide rate was increased.
Now I am deeply concerned about Greece. What does the financial crisis in Greece will affect the suicide rate in this country?

It is very interesting that the word “depression” has double meanings, the both recession and melancholy.
Now what should we do?

Thinking about suicide is not simple. I am always confused, but should do something better.

1 comment:

  1. Greece:

    It has risen by more than 33 percent against the same period for 2011 - 700 people taking their lives since January 1.

    Before the financial crisis began, Greece had the lowest suicide rate in Europe at 2.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to Eurostat.

    Absolutely suicide rate is ralated to economic is very sad. However, besides of economy, looking at the graph in Wikipedia we can see that there are more suicide rate in East Asian country, such as Japan, Korea, and China...why?

    William Childs Westmoreland, US Army General in Veitnam War, said "The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner...We value life and human dignity. They don't care about life and human dignity."

    I am quite sorry, but I have to agree with him in some aspect.