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17-yr-old boy jumps to death in front of train in Saitama

32 Comments

A 17-year-old boy died after he was hit by a train in Hidaka, Saitama Prefecture, on Sunday afternoon.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 2:30 p.m. at Musashiyokote Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. Fuji TV reported that the driver of the train told police he saw the boy jump onto the tracks. He applied the emergency brake but was unable to stop in time.

The boy was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour later. Police said they are investigating possible reasons why the boy might have committed suicide.

Nobody on the train was injured.

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32 Comments
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My point was that it needs to be reported more, until people become more willing lend a helping hand. I know it gets reported on, but sometimes the background/causes are left unreported (in general there are many cases of events being reported on, but follow-ups are lacking) and there's always the question of whether relatives, family, friends, etc. could've done anything to help avoid it. Government programs are great if effective, but I think the news media could be a powerful tool.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is definitely an outlier among advanced nations when it comes to suicide rates

No, it is not. Check the standard sources. Korea, Russia, Hungary, etc. have higher suicide rates. For the last eight years Korea has had the highest suicide rate in the industrialized world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/03/opinion/south-koreas-struggle-with-suicide.html?_r=0

Just returned from a trip to Zurich where certain trains zip down right beside traffic with no walls or barriers of any kind, just a signal light.

Similar in Britain except there is not even a signal light. If you want to jump in front of a train, I would suggest Didcot Parkway on the line between London and Cardiff.

Stressful society.... even teenagers are killing themselves..

Do you think this happens only in Japan? Search on "teen suicide" or "youth suicde".

It should be reported. It should be reported more, especially in Japanese media, until people wake up and extend a helping hand. I'll wait to see if more details about this case come to light, but the pattern of ignored-bullying driving kids to suicide feels too common here.

Do you actually read and view Japanese media? Such suicides are reported over and over again. If "suicide feels too common here," that's because in the absence of shootings and other violent crime, the media can concentrate on suicide. If we had more American-style shootings and other violent crime, you can be sure you would hear less about suicide in Japan.

The response to negativity and depression in Japan is to bash the person and shun them out of society.

Evidence for your claim? Depression has become the national disease of Japan and is frequently the subject of television programs.

Yet day after day after day there are scores of people committing suicide - approximately 70 per day if I remember correctly.

Yes, and it's 117 per day in the US although of course the US population is larger. And, while the Japanese suicide rate has been steadily declining since 2009, the US rate has been surging and is now at a 30-year high.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/health/us-suicide-rate-surges-to-a-30-year-high.html

Here's a link citing NPA stats along with quotes from people in insurance companies as well as a police medical examiner as to how and why the number of reported suicides may not be what they seem.

Suicide is also known to be undercounted in the US/UK and if you include "accidental death" from drug overdoses the US/UK suicide rate would be much higher.

http://www.science20.com/news_articles/suicides_underreported_in_western_countries_and_that_has_consequences-154660

Don't take my word for this. Search on "suicide underreported" to see just how general this problem is.

I would also note that while jumping in front of trains attracts attention because it causes inconvenience to many people, the most common way of committing suicide in Japan is to hang yourself. Perhaps the sale of rope and chairs to stand on should be prohibited.

https://www.tofugu.com/japan/suicide-in-japan/

0 ( +2 / -2 )

WOW young guy made a tough choice, may he rest in peace! Peer pressure society and who knows its just tough for kids now!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here's a link citing NPA stats along with quotes from people in insurance companies as well as a police medical examiner as to how and why the number of reported suicides may not be what they seem.

But that's not what you questioned. You said:

Also, lets be honest, how many of those new stats are due to new ways of counting and recording suicides?

Your link shows that reporting may not be accurate, but it does not show that there has (or might have been) been a change in the way of counting suicides. So as long as the method remains the same, the change in numbers would indicate an actual change in trend, even if the numbers themselves don't reflect the actual numbers.

I stand by my original comment that the government could and should be doing more

No your original comment was that the government doesn't seem bothered to fix it, not that they should be doing more. The government is already doing something, and has managed to get the numbers down by 20% two years earlier than their goal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm going to go with 'none', unless you can find something to show otherwise. Because just saying without any evidence or research whatsoever is tin-foil hat talk.

Here's a link citing NPA stats along with quotes from people in insurance companies as well as a police medical examiner as to how and why the number of reported suicides may not be what they seem.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/02/03/national/media-national/japans-suicide-statistics-dont-tell-the-real-story/#.V-klwdyWjAg

I'm not suggesting that this accounts for the whole drop, but it shows there are ways in which the government could attempt to give the figures a boost in the right direction - without having to actually deal with the issue properly.

I stand by my original comment that the government could and should be doing more - and the media should be all over the issue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Strangerland - I get that, but it requires more than just white papers and bureaucracy.

Of course it does. What do you think the white papers say? "Let's suicide less! Gambarou!"? They lay out plans of action on how to prevent suicides.

And as I pointed out, they have dropped by 20%, which was their goal in 2007.

Also, lets be honest, how many of those new stats are due to new ways of counting and recording suicides?

I'm going to go with 'none', unless you can find something to show otherwise. Because just saying without any evidence or research whatsoever is tin-foil hat talk.

And finally, you are shifting the goal posts. Your original comment was:

It's a clear problem that the government doesn't seem bothered to try and fix.

The government has invested a significant amount of resources into fixing it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Strangerland - I get that, but it requires more than just white papers and bureaucracy.

Also, lets be honest, how many of those new stats are due to new ways of counting and recording suicides?

Why is it not becoming a mainstream talking point? Why is a bullying culture still rife throughout society? Why do many schools still not understand how to deal with bullying? Why are mental health issues taboo? Why could only one family of the Sagamihara attacks openly talk about their murdered relative?

It's time for Japan to get serious about this issue. It's one of those things that paperwork, hankos, and government funds alone won't fix. It needs to become more personal and more talked about.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's a clear problem that the government doesn't seem bothered to try and fix.

The government puts out a white paper on it every year, and has spent hundreds of billions of yen in the last decade to bring the suicide rates down. After 14 consecutive years above 30,000 suicide, the rate has consistently declined since 2012, and last year was the first year since 1997 where suicides dipped below 25,000. They set a goal of cutting suicides by 20% in 2007, and it appears they achieved that goal, or pretty close to it, two years early.

So you can hardly say that the government isn't bothered to try to fix it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@DiscoJ - Yes it absolutely should be reported more - but more than that there should be a sustained campaign running through all mainstream media, along with the publishers of all the leading manga and magazines etc about suicide. As far as I can see there is nothing. Not a ripple. Yet day after day after day there are scores of people committing suicide - approximately 70 per day if I remember correctly.

Elderly people, stressed out salarymen, school kids - it runs throughout society. All ages, both sexes. It's a clear problem that the government doesn't seem bothered to try and fix. It's an issue that people generally don't talk about. Mental health is an issue that people seem afraid to confront.

Someone needs to take a lead. Some media organization needs to say enough is enough and at least attempt to make the issue a national talking point.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The response to negativity and depression in Japan is to bash the person and shun them out of society.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The idea of putting up fences along railroad tracks to prevent suicides is outlier thinking, just like the decision to jump in front of a train. There will be outlier thinking as long as random happenings populate normal bell curves. Suicides can’t be stopped any easier than natural laws can. And just because one person feels like it’s not a good answer doesn’t mean it’s a bad answer for someone else.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Barriers may not stop determined people, but it gives other people time to grab them and maybe haul them back over.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It should be reported. It should be reported more, especially in Japanese media, until people wake up and extend a helping hand. I'll wait to see if more details about this case come to light, but the pattern of ignored-bullying driving kids to suicide feels too common here. It's a waste of a life and 'easily' avoidable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stressful society.... even teenagers are killing themselves..

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@smithinjapan know how much money they loose daily from jumpers? A lot more than the cost of barriers.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

This is heartbreaking. As a parent of young 20 somethings I cannot imagine the pain the parents must be feeling now. I also understand the ups and downs of the teen years and the types of things kids get subjected to, which in turn leads to depression. Having lived here near 20 years I think Japan is far behind most developed nations when it comes to mental health, although I think the country is trying to improve.

I agree with many posters above that there is a huge cultural aspect to this. There are many positive aspects of Bushido and many negative ones, suicide being the worst. Japan having a culture of shame as opposed to our westernized culture of guilt (often religiously motivated) does not help matters.

I like Japan. It is a good place to live and there are many good people in this country. However, may of the aspects that make Japan a good place have "side effects" and this is one of them. Every time I hear about a suicide, especially of a kid, it tears at my gut and makes me feel ill.

Japan Violet's post is so true. In Tokyo we are all busy going about our lives but one never knows the impact of taking a moment to smile at someone, make someone laugh (even at our own expense), or acknowledging someone can have on a person's life.

My heart goes out to the family of the kid and also to the train driver and his family too. Wherever this young man's soul is now I hope he finds peace.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

i think I have a better solution. Why don't they just slow down the trains as they go through the stations? They do it for us drivers around school zones. Is the train's timetable more important than a human's life?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

the cost of installing barriers at every train and subway station in major citiies would be billions of dollars and perhaps save the lives of a handful of people a year. is that really worth it for train companies? it would be more cost effective to employ more staff at train stations. but at the end of the day, people who want to commit suicide will do it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan is definitely an outlier among advanced nations when it comes to suicide rates. As sf2k suggests, there is definitely a societal, if not cultural, component at work, particularly when it comes to childhood suicides.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Agree to sf2k: Suicide is becoming a trend especially for the younger generations because of bullying, family problem to name a few...they think ending their life is the only way out. This country needs to have a plan for Suicide prevention and child abuse awareness NOW!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I wish that on the way to the train station someone had smiled at him, maybe even said "have a nice day", but at least smiled if they were too shy to speak. It might have made a difference.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

No dude , Its a life lost

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Faced with killing a youth or any person , train drivers are in a war zone and need more sympathy than the subject's family. The driver is now out of commission .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Just returned from a trip to Zurich where certain trains zip down right beside traffic with no walls or barriers of any kind, just a signal light. Yours truly would feel pretty vulnerable there if I was drunk and walking,,,

6 ( +6 / -0 )

A culture of suicide has to end. This is a part of cultural heritage that you can do without! There is so much more to life and the world around us than ourselves and whatever is holding us down. That this is just another day in Japan is really upsetting to me :((((

7 ( +7 / -0 )

One hour before he died. I feel so sorry for him. Police should leave no stone unturned...bullying, domestic, exam stress? Too young.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

As long as the tracks are accessible people will use them for suicide, stations are not needed. You can enter the tracks at crossings or by climbing a simple wire fence.

Gates are good to prevent accidents but a determined person will find a way around them. Even evelated tracks are easily accessed. Close to me get got 'fenced' of staircases for maintenance people to access the elevated tracks, fence is a bit over 1 metre.

Might even be easier to jump of a bridge onto an expressway.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

And the only way barriers would stop suicides is if they are floor to ceiling, as they have in newer subway stations.

Sorry, I should have been more concise: those are the barriers I had in mind while typing. Sorry I wasn't more clear about that.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Aly: The barriers aren't going to stop suicides, although I agree they should be put in to stop people from falling as there are a lot of injuries and even deaths from the fall alone, if they don't get hit after, and there's some pushing sometimes. The thing is, JR is not about to fork out money that would put it at a loss. There's no profit gates, and in the event of suicides I believe they can sue the families for operating losses when trains are stopped.

I'm not saying they are a malicious company (and I don't even think this was JR), although with the way they treat low-level employees I think in many respects they are, but it's about money. And the only way barriers would stop suicides is if they are floor to ceiling, as they have in newer subway stations. Any other gate can be easily climbed over for those who have decided.

RIP young man.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

This always shocks me... :(

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan just needs a wake-up call in general when it comes to mental health. People have to start giving sh#t. Stop turning a blind eye to bullying and harassment. Stop working people to death. Let kids have some semblance of a life and free thought. Basically just pull heads from the sand.

Or just pretend everything is OK and continue on the current trajectory...

7 ( +10 / -3 )

The government should make a law that requires ALL train companies to have barries that completely restrict access to the tracks. Its not only about suicide. Its also about accidents regarding people with dementia or even just plain old drunk salarymen.

About 15 years ago, I was taking a train in Akabane in North Tokyo when I saw a man lying on the tracks. I immediately informed the staff and they pulled the emergency lever saving his life and stopping all trains. The staff, about 3 or 4 of them then rushed down and picked the man up and carried him to saftey back to the platform. He was bleeding from his head and had passed out from too much drinking. If no one had been there, he would have been killed by the next train.

So its not just about suicides. There needs to barriers erected on all train stations in Japan for general safety reasons. With the olympics coming up this will be of even greater concern.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

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