July 9, 2007

Japanese and suicide

Japan already has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. It is estimated that roughly 30,000 people committed suicide every year. This number is quite staggering if you compare to the number of road accident death per year is around 10,000. With the development of technology, the internet has been blamed for a spate of group suicides which appear to have been arranged in online chat rooms.

In country where "kamikaze" is a symbol of glorified death, there are a number of growing, and morbidly frank underworld of chat rooms and websites with names like "Suicide Club," where thousands of (mainly young) people meet and talk and plan their deaths. Internet has become the medium to seek suicide partners. The message boards are littered with personal ads like: "I have pills and charcoal briquettes - I'm looking for someone to die with," and "I'm 23 and want to die. I can travel anywhere."

One of the main reason behind the high number of suicide rate is the pressure from society. Japanese are known to be polite and shy to expose or express their inner feelings to others. In a society where everyone is expected to conform by standards set by others, it is no surprise most of the Japanese are suffering from some forms of depressions or mental disorder.

Recently, the Japanese parliament has approved a law ordering the government to tackle the country's high rate of suicide. The law calls on central and local governments to produce policies that would reduce the number of suicides. The new law urges companies to provide mental health care for employees and calls for more research on suicide prevention. Experts have blamed a variety of factors for the high suicide rate, including work-related stress and money worries

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