A 24-year-old man from Sendai hanged himself in his apartment on Tuesday at around 5:30 a.m. while broadcasting the incident live to viewers on the Internet. Police were alerted to the suicide by viewers of the web page Ustream. By 8 a.m. a policeman in Miyagi prefecture had begun to follow the online trail that had led to the man's death.
It is believed the man gave advance warning of his forthcoming suicide on several web pages leading up to the event. On Nov 4, he is believed to have posted messages on the popular forum site 2 Channel, stating "I'm going to commit suicide." He allegedly gave the name of his employer, a banking institution, some details about problems he'd had at work and wrote that he was currently suspended from his duties.
Following this, messages appeared on Ustream on Nov 7 that investigators believe were written by the same man. He shared some of his thoughts on life and again gave advance notice of his plan to commit suicide. On Nov 8 at around 4 a.m., his feed was temporarily offline causing rampant speculation online as whether the man was staging an elaborate hoax. The feed went back online on Nov 9 at around midnight.
Investigators believe at around 3:45 a.m. on Tuesday, the man tried to hang himself on his balcony using what appeared to be knotted sheets but the joist buckled under his weight, causing him to suspend the attempt. The video then showed the man finding a new spot on his balcony and repeated the attempt at around 5:30 a.m. at which point viewers could make out that he had stopped moving.
It was reported that the sky behind the man in the video brightened as the dawn broke in real time, causing many doubters to believe that they were indeed watching a real live feed. Heated arguments began to spring up on Ustream and 2 Channel between people disagreeing over the authenticity of what they were witnessing.
According to investigators, as the man's professional position became public knowledge, a large number of messages were posted by agitators telling the man his life was over, expressing hatred or encouraging him to follow through with his plan.
According to police, viewers began to report the man's suicide after 6 a.m. The man lived alone and police say that thus far, a will has not been found. It has also been reported that the man posted a message directed to the police at around 1:40 a.m. to inform them of his intentions.© Compiled from news reports