Disaster-linked suicides in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima have increased in 2013 compared to the previous year according to reports from the National Police Agency. Last year, an increase of 13 was recorded among the suicide cases in Fukushima, resulting in a total of 37 cases.
The national record for suicide cases in 2013 was at 27,283, down by 2.1 percent from the previous year. While the numbers show a decline in cases for the fourth consecutive year, it does not reflect the continued increase of suicides in Fukushima, which is the area hardest hit by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011. An official from the Cabinet noted, “The impact of the nuclear accident is prolonging people’s stay in evacuated locations and this could have affected the Fukushima figure.” In 2013, an increase of 10 suicide cases resulting to 23 came from Fukushima. Iwate noted 4 suicides down by fifty percent from the previous year while Miyagi recorded 10 suicides, up by seven.
Yasuyuki Shimizu from the Life Link support center noted the increase of suicide cases in Fukushima. He noted, “Many people may be feeling stressed for not knowing when they can go back to their homes, being unable to find transport or feeling isolated from people around them.” 22 cases cited health concerns while finances and daily life accounted for the nine other incidents. Five cases mentioned problems with work while another five were caused by problems with their families.