June 19, 2008

Japan's suicide rate exceeds 30,000 for 10th year

The number of suicides in Japan exceeded 30,000 in 2007 for the 10th year in a row, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The number of suicides rose 2.9 per cent in 2007 to 33,093, which was the second highest in record, compared to a year before, an agency survey showed. The highest was recorded in 2003 at 34,427.

The agency said 26 per cent of suicides were triggered by depression, while others were caused by physical ailments and financial concerns from mounting debts.

For example this year, Japan's new recipe for killing oneself is being purged from the Internet at police request. Drugstores are pulling ingredients from shelves.

Still, three more young people were found dead over one week earlier this month, part of the latest fad in Japanese suicide -- painless death by stinky detergent fumes. A recent headline in the Weekly Asahi, a respected newsmagazine, noted that "The Remains Turn Green Like Aliens."

(Mainichi) As many as 517 people committed suicide by generating deadly hydrogen sulfide gas between January and May this year, the National Police Agency (NPA) said on Thursday.

The figure is a whopping increase from the 29 fatalities last year due to the same cause, the NPA said.

By age, 232 of the 517 who gassed themselves to death by mixing detergent and generating hydrogen sulfide gas during the January-May period this year were in their 20s.

By gender, 407 were men and 110 were women, the NPA said, based on a survey it hurriedly conducted recently.

Alerted by the severe increase, the NPA in April designated Internet entries that encourage suicide by generating hydrogen sulfide as "harmful information." The NPA also notified police forces across the nation to request Internet service providers to delete such information.