Japan suicide rate on the rise due to economic problems

 2153 people in Japan committed suicides in October 2020-highest in last five years

Suicides in Japan rose for the fourth month in a row, according to police data. After the four month run upto October, the number of suicides are now at the highest level in the country in over five years. According to activists, the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown is to be blamed for this. Women in particular remain affected. 

Reuters reported that preliminary police data showed that the total number of suicides had increased to 2,153 for October. This marks an increase of over 300 from the previous month. Additionally, it represents the highest number of suicides in the country since May 2015.

For women, the number of suicide cases rose by 82.6 per cent. They accounted for 851 suicides. For men, the increase was 21.3 per cent. Cases of suicide in Japan had been declining until July, when the effects of the coronavirus on the economy became more prominent. Due to the pandemic, businesses were shut, and millions across the globe were asked to stay in by their governments. Owing to this, economic hardships rose for many.

The number of suicides in August increased 15.4 per cent to 1,854. Despite a lower rate, the number of women who commit suicide has increased by about 40 per cent. The number of students, from elementary to high school, taking their own lives has more than doubled compared to the same period last year.

Japan’s suicide rise shows that coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on women, teenage girls and children. Japan is one of the few major economies to regularly release data on suicide, which remains a major societal issue.

Economically, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women, who are more likely to be in irregular employment in retail or service industries. They represent almost 66 per cent of recent job losses in Japan.

The data point to what may be happening around the world as countries grapple with the fallout from mass unemployment and social isolation that is impacting certain groups of people more than others.

In Japan, the suicide rate has been steadily falling but it remains a top cause of premature deaths – more than 13,000 this year compared to less than 2,000 for COVID-19.

According to government data, the number of suicides jumped in August by 15.4 per cent to 1,854. Although a smaller proportion, the number of women taking their own lives jumped by about 40 per cent. The number of suicides of students in elementary to high school more than doubled to 59 from the same period last year.

                                                              Rukhsana Manzoor Deputy Editor

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