Friday, April 1, 2016

Suicide is illegal in Japan

I wrote previously that Japan is a suicide-rich country. Over 30,000 people killed themselves in a year. However, this problematic tendency is gradually changing.

In recent years, the number of suicide became decreasing. In last year, only 24,000 people committed suicide. Though it is not an acceptable outcome, it is very glad that the victims have been reduced by one-fifth compared to a few years ago.

Why have Japanese tended not to go to suicide?

There are several hypotheses suggested by researchers. First, the Japanese population is getting older. In general, aged people are less likely to commit suicide than those in middle age. Retired people need not be concern about the economic matter in their life. Instead, those in the 40s and 50s, especially in men, are fearful of losing their job. This cluster has the highest risk of suicide.

Second, the economy in Japan recovered, at least partially, from the late 2000s. Abenomics, developed by Abe administration, was effective to raise the value of stockpile in Japan. Economic status is seriously related to the suicide rate. Recently, however, it is criticized from several industries. I am afraid that the fiscal situation of Japan will be deteriorated shortly, leading to the rising of suicide rate again.

Third, the Earthquake and Tsunami disaster in 2011 might have influenced Japanese people's mind. It robbed 30,000 innocent people of their lives. We had to become aware of the meaning of life. Some Japanese stopped trying to injure themselves after experiencing this disaster, I guess.

And finally, I think this is the most decisive reason. Japan parliament passed the amended legislation about suicide. The act of suicide prevention came into force in 2006. The government reconsidered the content of this law and decided that committing suicide as illegal. Since 2012, people who committed suicide have deserved to the capital punishment. Attempted suicide is not subjected to punishment. But they tend to be discriminated as a potential criminal. After this amendment, suicide cases significantly decreased.

Wikipedia: Jisatsu Taisaku Kihon-ho (in Japanese)

After all, what is needed for Japanese was to teach them right and wrong. Japanese are well known to adhere to social rules. I was surprised that simply defining suicide as illegal was so effective to stop such act. I want the government to illegalize attempted suicide as well. It will prevent suicide further.

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