Social Issues

Japan suicides rise for 1st time in 11 years

Tokyo, Jan 22 (efe-epa).- The number of suicides in Japan increased by 3.7 percent in 2020, the first increase in 11 years, with a sharp rise in cases among women and young people amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 20,919 people took their lives in Japan during last year, according to a preliminary report of the National Police Agency released Friday, local news agency Kyodo reported.

While the number of men who committed suicide decreased by 1 percent to 13,943, the number of cases among women increased by 14.5 percent to 6,976, the highest figure in the last five years.

Experts attribute this trend to job insecurity and the increased burden of child care as more people are staying at home and some schools are temporarily closed due to the pandemic, with these factors tending to cause more stress to women than to men.

Details of the data, such as age and occupation, were only available for the 11 months to November, but showed that 404 of those who took their own lives were students, already surpassing the record of 401 over the entirety of 1986.

The last time Japan’s annual suicide rate increased was in 2009, when the country’s economy was seriously impacted by the global financial crisis following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, which led to the collapse of many businesses and job cuts, as has also been the case due to the pandemic.

A Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry official described the situation as “severe” and added that the government plans to expand consultation services and introduce support organizations to help those in need.

The rise in Japan’s suicide rate in 2020 comes after suicides dropped the previous year to never-before-seen levels to stand below 20,000 for the first time. EFE-EPA


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