Suicides rise in Japan: Economic factors and other ills

Suicides rise in Japan: Economic factors and other ills 

Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi

Modern Tokyo Times

The high number of suicides in Japan is nothing new. Indeed, compared with the high number of approximately 34,000 suicides in 2003, recent signs had been positive. Therefore, despite the numbers remaining horrendously high, suicide deaths fell to just over 20,000 in 2019. 

Yet, increasing economic factors have emerged since the coronavirus crisis began in 2020 – and sanctions put on the Russian Federation that ignited inflation in 2022. Usual causes of suicide, including broken relationships, work-related stress, family problems, and people blighted by ill health – continue decade after decade. 

Economic factors in 2022 witnessed the first increase in men committing suicide in over 13 years. The total number of suicides in 2022 – including men, women, and children increased to 21,584 – this preliminary figure often increases by March when the full findings are announced.

The health ministry specified that suicides are notable among men aged between the 40s to 60s, elderly male pensioners, and the unemployed. 

Male suicides in the preliminary data total reached 14,543 compared to female deaths 7,041. The number of child deaths (elementary to high school) was 441. Accordingly, child and female deaths remain relatively similar in 2021. 

Female suicide deaths are still approximately 1,000 more than in the pre-Covid-19 period. This concerns deteriorating economic and social factors (females are often in poorer paid work and have fewer working rights related to temporary contracts and so forth) since 2020.

The Daily Mainichi reports, “Suicide among the unemployed in 2022 nearly doubled to 1,038 people, while those among people who lived off of pensions or employment benefits rose by 705 to 5,347.”

Lee Jay Walker says, “Angles with the highest group factors of suicides (11,125 suicide deaths related to health issues and family problems accounting for 4,214) will also have aspects of economic factors. Thus, while Japan finds money to support nations internationally, the same political elites negate issues concerning poverty, insufficient welfare to help the poorest in society, female economic discrimination, and the inadequate pension system for the poorest in society.”

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20230120/p2g/00m/0na/014000c

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