Once thought to be a noble act, suicide in Japan -now an act of despair has raised to an alarming high rate for the 10th successive year in 2007. Japans weak economic growth and a high rate of unemployment can be attributed as the primary reasons behind it.
Some quick stats :
- By 1998, suicides topped 30,000 a year, a 45% one year increase.Since then annual figure has continued to stay above 30,000. In 2007 around 100 suicides are reported a day i.e. one Japanese suicide every 15 minutes.
- A survey from Japanese government showed 20% of Japanese adults said they had considered killing themselves. Between genders, females are more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts than male (21.9 % vs 16.3%).
- 50% of respondents said movies and television were to blame for the high suicide rate because they either glossed over the subject or showed too many suicides. Over 75% of the respondents also said they thought the Internet should be regulated to stop suicide sites from describing ways to commit suicide.
A few years ago, suicidal Japanese were meeting each other online, driving out into the countryside, shutting themselves up in the back of vans and killing themselves in clouds of carbon monoxide by burning charcoal briquettes – a method known as ‘Net shinju’(?????). However latest in the spate is ‘detergent suicide‘ or mixing laundry detergent and bath salt to release noxious Hydrogen Sulfide fumes , claiming more than 500 lives in last 5 months. The method was spread through the notorious ‘2ch’ bulletin board system. Infact a Google search on calcium sulfide bath salt or Mutouhappu (??????) suggests ‘Mutouhappu suicide’ as a related keyword. Also Amazon Japan sells a ‘complete suicide handbook’ (?????????).
Goo suggests some interesting aspects on the Japanese blogging about ‘suicide’ phenomenon.
- Female (51%) marginally outnumbers males (49%) in suicide related blogs.
- Such blogs are mostly popular topic (32%) among the bloggers in 20-30s.
- The long tradition of suicide in Japan though shaped up in internet as a group activity, however in blogs it remains highly unpopular. In addition since last few months number of suicide blogs are declining.
Japanese authorities have urged Internet providers to voluntarily crackdown on suicide websites , however as it seems they have a long way to go !