Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Suicide in Japan, is it a culture?

It is a sad news. Yoshiki Sasai, a famous scientist who was involved in a suspicious fraud case of a stem cell research, killed himself. He was found dead by hanging in a research institution, reported on Aug 5 2014.

Time: Top Japanese Scientist Who Co-Authored Discredited Stem-Cell Study Commits Suicide

He was one of the core members which were struggling to prove the existence of STAP cell, which was once published to be discovered in Nature, an extremely famous academic journal. However, this article was retracted since several erroneous descriptions had been pointed out. He, as well as Haruko Obokata, the unit leader of this project, was broadly criticized for a suspect of fabrication.

Sasai left a letter to express his own thought. According to the media, he believed to be able to reconstruct the STAP cells. He also made a mourning for the current exhaustive situation, meanwhile apologizing for confusing the society.

Based on the incident, his death was introduced as a method of atonement in Japan in some media. The Wall Street Journal referred to some cases in which a certain person committed suicide to take a responsibility for a scandal.

The Wall Street Journal: Suicide Is Sometimes Means of Atonement in Japan

I disagree with the opinion of this article above. It is true that some Japanese decide to kill oneself after being blamed. However, there are not so many Japanese who think suicide is required to compensate for a vast loss. HARAKIRI is merely a legendary culture in ancient Japan.

Actually, Japan is a suicide-rich country. Some people have an opinion that most Japanese who committed suicide were not mentally ill. However, this idea has been clearly denied by a survey conducted by Yoshinori Choh, a researcher of psychiatry. According to the result of his study, more than 90% of the person who committed suicide had somewhat mental disorders before the fatal period. This percentage is as same as the report by WHO.

My past entry: Suicide in Japan
My past entry: Reduction of suicide in 2012 in Japan
My past entry: The MTS act and suicide (1)
My past entry: A new research of suicide prevention in Japan

Every suicide is a tragedy. I think no life should not be forced to be extinguished by self or others. We must be aware of the risk of suicide in a tough situation.

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