A record 514 children attending elementary, junior high and high schools in Japan died by suicide in 2022, topping the previous high of 499 seen in 2020, government data showed Tuesday, with the upward trend apparently fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Suicides among females also increased for the third straight year, rising 67 from the previous year to 7,135, the data showed.
Overall, the number of people taking their own lives in Japan increased 874 to 21,881, with male suicides seeing the first increase in 13 years at 14,746 cases, up 807 from the year before.
A total of 17 elementary school pupils, 143 junior high school students and 354 high school students killed themselves in 2022.
The rise in the numbers could be attributable to the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which began in 2020, said a ministry official working on measures to prevent suicides.
"We will closely monitor the situation and deepen our analysis, including the impact of the coronavirus," the official said.
The number of suicides per 100,000 people increased to 17.5, up 0.8 from 2021.
By age groups, those in their 50s accounted for the largest number of suicides at 4,093, up 475 from the previous year, while those in their 80s also showed a significant increase of 276 to 2,490.
Health issues were the most common reasons behind suicides of both sexes, accounting for 12,774 cases, or the majority of suicides last year, followed by family problems at 4,775 and problems related to economic and life issues at 4,697. Employment issues accounted for 2,968.
The data was compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare based on suicide statistics released by the National Police Agency.
Editor: If you or someone you know in Japan are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. Click here for more info.© KYODO
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So nearly every day a high school student kills themselves.
In Japan society always think it's never to early to provide unnecessary load to everyone, that also include poor school kids. Now Japanese wondering why child take their own life?
It was not mask-wearing or remote lessons which increased the stress on children.
It was the government response which took the path of least resistance and denied support to workers in favor of business which left many working families struggling under serious economic stressors,
while the LDP was telling families to practice "self-reliance".
""The rise in the numbers could be attributable to the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which began in 2020, said a ministry official working on measures to prevent suicides.""
The Escape Goat of the century, COVID 19 !!!! what else can we blame it for???
Instead of admitting FAILURE everyone is blaming COVID, Suicides increases because people are NOT FINDINFG the help they needed at that time, NOT because of the Corona Virus.
CHILD SUICIDE is a NATIONAL TRAGEDY, if not a national emergency!
Why would a child as young as 6 years old take his or her own life????? this is the question we should be asking ourselves, what a shame.
It's easy to deflect blame when such an obvious choice is available. It is also obvious that the blame should be focused on the lack of action taken by those who hold the responsibility of protecting its citizens.
So where are all the pundits that state that "suicide" is an honorable death? Oh right, that's just for people to use as an excuse to run away from their responsibilities. But what responsibilities does a child have that causes them to kill themselves? What "honor" have they preserved by their tragic deaths?
Parents, educators, municipal officials, the national government, everyone is to blame, and everyone is an answer as well.
Making mental health just as important as physical health and education, particularly for children is a MUST!
Problem is too many people dont want to discuss it, because it's an illness that is "unseen" and deals with the mind and heart.
you think? Of course it had a significant impact. Many people believe a generational one. When you force children indoors for too long, don't show them basic facial emotion (masks), and make them feel guilty for catching a flu like virus what do you expect?
for the better part of 3 years kids weren’t allowed to be kids. They were unfairly penalized to protect the feelings and perception of the people in control.
Not a covid problem but a structural one. Not only are there a lack of mental health resources for students but also in the ages of elementary to high school you literally can see most students lose their individuality as they are conditioned into society. I believe in a globalized world where these kids have access to YouTube, TikTok, instagram etc to see how individuality is celebrated in other places and stamped out here it causes high stress levels
Is that the highest child suicide rate in the developed world?
Society has been extremely cruel, particularly to kids and young people these last 3 years, so it's not surprising unfortunately.
Bombarded with fear and waking up to a bleak faceless day each morning, not being able to see smiles, forced to eat forward alone in silence and being reprimanded for laughter must have been tough.
Seeing their parents and adults around them looking down and depressed and the rise of domestuc violence due to places being shuttered and no outlets in a work only lifestyle wouldn't have helped.
Hopefully people will grow up and start showing kids they can handle things sensibly without ruining society in a headless chickenlike manner.
Poor form all around I am sorry to say.
Not blaming COVID but instead of governments response and unfair effect it had on children. Instead of protecting children the Japan government took a "One size fits all approach". If you think keeping kids masked through their developmental years and having remote learning is not harmful then you are naïve.
Suicide is a mental disorder that can neither be prevented nor "cured." It can be delayed with some treatment, but those seriously ill will find a way. It's heartbreaking for those involved but casting blame on externalities is useless.
More kids have died of suicide than the virus itself and its "stay home save lives mask forever" effects since 2020.
Should do a study on International schools as well.
If the number of suicides is zero, J-government should do a study on this and implement the healthy way of studying in their national schools so they can save a child's life a day.
It's not only kids, recently suicides skyrocketing in Japan.
It wasn't the coronavirus.
It was the abject paranoid excessive reactions to, and draconian polices toward, the coronavirus.
Basically barricading kids in their homes, and then masking them up and preventing them from talking to their peers during lunch at school, and all sorts of other overreactions in response to a virus that posed virtually NO threat to kids ... basically turning their lives upside down.
And with all of this silliness and insanity leading so many kids to commit suicide ... it's UNDENIABLE that the coronavirus POLICIES actually killed more kids than the coronavirus itself. A LOT more.
In fact, the coronavirus killed very few children, if any at all.
This all goes for society in general, in fact. The draconian "coronavirus measures" in many countries ended up causing more harm than good. A lot more.
It's not me saying it. It's researchers at some of the world's top universities -- Harvard, Duke, Johns Hopkins -- saying it.
Some of the "coronavirus measures" were so draconian and so utterly harmful that they in fact constitute crimes against humanity. But will anyone be held accountable for it?
Don't hold your breath.
Should this even be news?
Name the policies then.
It was not mask and vaccine "suggestions".
It was giving coronavirus stimulus monies to businesses instead of families.
I knew a guy that did that while we were in Jr High, never understood why he did, I was just with him the days previous, he seemed like any other kid.
too much of pressure on kids from early age.
you must do this,you must do that.study,juku,afterschool activities,completely killed weekends with it.
no warm feeling from parents.no private family time to say meet around the table eat dinner together,talk face to face,solve problems,give advices,educate kids.
parents education is replaced by online computer games,game consols,youtube,tiktok,instagram,line,facebook.
kids have no idea how real childhood looks like.
so here are results.this society is heading to very wrong direction.
Suicide is rarely caused by external events and circumstances, otherwise everyone would be commuting suicide under the same.
Suicide is caused by the personal and societal acceptance that killing yourself is a solution to when life is hard.
Thanks to L.D.P. leaderships, the society is desperate because of them. Young people want to protest their frustrations by their lives!
A VERY sad story.
Suicide is a worldwide problem....but historically Japan seems to have bestowed a twisted sense of " Honour" to it.
Very sad! In a school system where bullies are not held to account and the over zealous/draconian reaction to a cohort that were never at great risk from Covid anyway not really surprising.
I wonder, has it always been this way? Or it's a modern phenomena since the bubble burst?
This is a different view on this tragedy, I noticed recently people are building ALL BLACK or DARK matt colored homes around where I live, and probably somewhere else !!?? extremely depressing looking at these BOX like homes that are pupping up all around, is this a trend? or a sign of depression?
Why would anyone want to live and raise children in Matt Black box like home??? Even the door and window frames are Matt Black, only the A/C pump and the water boilers are off white for heavens sake. very depressing just looking at them.
Yes @Mark ....I had noticed this strange black box phenomenon.
Now that you mention it I looked up 黒い一軒家 and yes, you find these everywhere, just like in the pictures, with minimum to no windows at all. Lets contemplate the fact that we will never understand many parts of the japanese mentality, including extreme trends of paranoic methods of privacy such as building windowless houses or blurring out other people's faces (especially children's) from instagram and other sns pictures making happy weekend photos disturbingly creepy
Pleased to see the government admitting one of the results of their failed Covid response. It was obvious at the time the detrimental effect the draconian policies would have on the poor children.The children who were at minuscule risk from the virus itself.
In past times the older generations made sacrifices to protect the children during a crisis, now we sacrifice their well being to protect older people.
Hiw could a society become so twisted and uncaring about the youth?
Lead by example, stop wearing a mask and show the kids a big smile.
I think there are numerous factors at play here. But, most importantly is the education system.
There are never enough counselors at schools. Some country schools are lucky if they have 4 hours of an on-site counselor in a month.
No system of expulsion if the parents don't agree. It's more often schools will try to convince the parents of the child being bullied to move, so they can have their school switched. Parents of bully kids are usually impossible for the school to deal with under current restrictions.Stop overworking children. Children need more family time. Schools need to stop finding excuses for students to be able to hang out at school until late evening hours. They aren't happy, and they aren't enjoying any of it.
There are many more things. It all starts with how broken the school systems are right now. Fix it.
Maybe BEST indicator society's failing, as students don't believe in the future etc. Clearly education here needs to join 21st century, as no longer any country-based science, technology, etc., it's ALL GLOBAL!
Can anyone name ONE country based successful globally active corporation? There's your answer, corps ALL need students with a global mindset and values!
These problems are a reflection on the political leadership of a nation, and how it allocates its resources.
Lots of people mentioning why the suicides rate is high in Japan for children but we knew that anyway. The massive recent increase was because of social isolation caused by constant ask wearing, remote schooling and fear instilled on them by authorities, society and their family, adults should know better.
So incredibly sad and many still deny the damage caused by society to the children.
Yeah right we just need more analysis...
That's the very problem, it's not a problem for the mind, it's a problem of the heart. Too much pressure for the ideal.
Present evidence that the reactions were not justified, specifically that the benefits did not outweigh the risks at at point where they were not well characterized. Measures in Japan can't be called draconian, and if suicide rates in other countries (some of which had even stronger measures) are not elevated what do you think this proves?
So it is undeniable because you want to believe it? you need to prove that the many different effects of the pandemic would not have had any repercusion for children, no depression for losing many family members, no chaos on schools because of faculty members being unable to work consistently, no lives lost because of lack of treatment in hospitals swamped by covid cases, etc.
Pretending things would have been the same without measures is where your argument becomes irrational.
That is still false, the increase is in part due to the pandemic, nowhere is there any "admission" of the response being failed, or invalid, or unjustified, that is completely your personal baseless assumption. As long as you can't demonstrat the measures had no justification (and that obviously is not something you can do based only on your personal opinion) these claims are still baseless.
Because the same "massive increase" was observed in every other country with similar or even much more strict measures, right?
No? then obviously the cause is much more complicated that this, specially when the cases on 2019 were still in the hundreds.
So many are still making the illogical conclusion that people's circumstances cause suicide.
How can that make sense?! If that were true why don't the countries with the worst circumstance have the highest suicide rates? Tell me why people in similar plights don't commit suicide.
Suicide has almost nothing to do with life's circumstances; how can it? People commit suicide because they have the same belief you do that when life is terrible, suicide is a reasonable option. That's the problem right there!!
The Covid measures certainly were not helping, but blaming it all on the Covid measures falls way short once you consider that the number of suicides were actually lower in 2021 than in 2020.
The massive increase in children's suicides in Japan has been a topic for the last decade. You can find a news article about a new record in child suicides for any of the last 15 years, it more than tripled between 2005 and before Corona. It has been a systematic problem for a long, long time.
didn’t say it was the only reason.
In many countries there is also a rise in suicides amongst the young, depression and growing obesity, attributed to the Covid measures that isolated people. The measures children were made to take were not worth it, this link shows the deaths by age by Covid in Japan up to October last year
Problem is your stick with the same mindset and refuse to look at the data or many you don’t understand, I don’t know the reason for your beliefs.
Your understanding of suicide and the events that cause depression, suicidal thought etc are complex and are mostly unrelated to circumstances like quality of life, wealth etc.
A large event can trigger suicidal thought and depression, something like divorce, death of family member or an event like Covid. Rich and poor will be affected equally though the poorer members of society will be less likely in general to have a good support system and be able to get professional help.
Fair, you didn't. But you said it is a "massive increase", which ... it wasn't. As far as the raw numbers go, and considering the overall trend, 2022 was relatively "mild" with an increase of "only" 9%. Not that this is much to celebrate of course, but sadly, there have been worse years, much much worse. Yes, there was a rather big bump of 41% in 2020 that you could attribute to Corona, but also a 33% bump two years earlier in the Corona-free 2018. Overall, everything is completely in line with the sad direction the numbers have been going for the last 15 years.
Attributed by whom, based on what epidemiological data, you understand that one single country where this is not the case is enough to refute your claim, right? because having the problem without the reason you give (as in Japan over many years without pandemic) and having the reason without the effect means your explanation is obviously not valid.
Again, you are assuming there would not be any extra problem without the measures, which other countries have demonstrated is completely wrong. You need sources that demonstrate no extra deaths product from families being destroyed, from lack of access to medical services, etc. would have happened.
Also, vaccines and measures protect all groups, which means presenting low deaths WHILE under the protection of the measures demonstrate the opposite of what you want to say.
No belief involved, just the scientific consensus that clearly demonstrate the measures saved uncountable amount of lives including people of all demographic groups, against which you only present your personal opinion as if you had some kind of authority to support it.
There is a reason why you can't present any actual institution of health that says the measures were invalid, unjustified and specially had no positive effect.
There was / is no direct or indirect link between Covid and an increase in suicides by younger people…. Not in Japan anyway .!. There were no “draconian restrictions” ever placed on us here …. The pressure put on school aged children in all age groups here is the main issue and bullying being another ….
Surely part of the problem but..
They say happy homes lead to happy kids but if the populations so old, there are so few kids, that's not a strong 'happiness' foundation, is it?!
Too much pressure on kids because everyone's in a state of panic about the lack of kids, vicious circle.