This is a blog for the Mental Health Policy Class at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

June 19, 2008

Nearly 100 Japanese commit suicide each day

An average of almost 100 Japanese people killed themselves each day last year, according to figures out today, dealing a serious blow to a government campaign to drastically reduce the suicide rate by 2016. A total of 33,093 people committed suicide in 2007, up 3% from 2006 and the 10th year in a row the number has exceeded 30,000, the national police agency said. The figure is the second highest after the 34,427 recorded suicides in 2003. Depression was identified as the main factor in around a fifth of cases, followed by physical illness and debt. The number of elderly people who killed themselves rose 9% from a year earlier as Japan grapples with a rapidly aging society and rising poverty among pensioners. People aged over 60 made up the biggest individual group of victims, rising to a record high of 36.6% of the total, the agency said.

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