It seems that people in Japan are starting to see a brighter future, as the country’s suicide rate continues to decline for the fourth straight year. Last year’s record marks the second consecutive year that the suicide rate fell below the 30,000 mark, with 27,283 cases reported.
Some attribute the decline with the economic revival Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has introduced since the beginning of his second term as the country’s premier. Speaking to reporters, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the policies in “Abenomics” have helped boost a dying economy, which gave many Japanese hope. However, according to a survey published on the White Paper on Suicide Prevention, the reasons people commit suicide in Japan remain the same as the previous years, with illness and health problems being the single largest cause, and money troubles at a distant second. In 2013, 13,680 people committed suicide because of poor health, while only 4,636 people did so for reasons of debt and unemployment. This data shows that in spite of the economic recovery of Japan, money concerns are not directly related to the main cause of many suicide cases, though it could be considered a factor. The fact remains that many still commit suicide because of factors, which are more difficult to address such as illnesses or health problems.
While the suicide rate in Japan has improved in the past few years, it still remains one of the highest rates among other developed nations. In 2009, Japan’s suicide rate was at 24.4 percent, while France was at 16.7 in 2008, Germany at 12.3 percent in 2010, and 11.5 for the U.S. in 2007. Russia was the only other country whose suicide rate was higher than Japan’s in 2009, at 26.5, and Russia has a far greater population than Japan. The paper recommended policies that would address health and economic factors in Japan to further push down the rate of suicide in the country.
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