Suicides in Japan hit a 20-year low

In Japan, economic suffering seems to contribute to higher rates of suicide. After the collapse of the country’s economic bubble of the 1980s, many Japanese companies underwent painful risutora, or restructuring. As the country’s slowdown worsened during the 1990s, suicides spiked, particularly among middle-aged men who had expected lifetime employment at their firms. In 1998, when the Japanese economy fell into outright recession, suicides jumped 35% to over 32,000.

According to the National Police Agency, suicides stemming from economic difficulties accounted for nearly one in five such deaths. A study published in 2007 estimated that every one percentage point increase in the Japanese unemployment rate is associated with an additional 4,800 suicides.

Japan’s government has made reducing suicides a priority. In 2007, authorities set a goal of reducing the country’s suicide rate by 20% over ten years and committed $220m to prevention measures such as better workplace counselling. This month, the government set a new target of reducing the suicide rate by another 30% over the next decade.

Even though the national suicide rate has fallen by 30% since 2003, its current mark of 18.5 per 100,000 remains the third-highest in the OECD, a rich-country club. (

Kagoshima District Court on Wednesday granted a retrial for a woman, 90, who completed a prison term for killing a 42 year-old male farmer in the town of Osaki, Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, in 1979. (Jiji)

Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Tuesday revealed that a 32-year-old man has been arrested for posting a death threat on the blog of one of the most popular members of idol group Kamen Joshi (Masked Girls), reports the Asahi Shimbun. (

Kanagawa Prefectural Police have arrested a male employee at an institution for the disabled for allegedly engaging in illicit acts with a female pupil, who was 13 at the time, in Hiratsuka City last month, reports Nikkan Sports (

Tokyo Metropolitan Police used data from a social media application in apprehending a male teacher alleged in the molestation of a woman in Fussa City earlier this month, reports TBS News (

Fukuoka Prefectural Police have revealed that a 44-year-old man accused of stalking a member of popular idol group HKT48 in Fukuoka City also pursued another member, reports TBS News. (

Saitama Prefectural Police have arrested a lawyer for allegedly molesting a woman inside a crowded train early Saturday, reports TBS News (

Smoke from a battery for charging a mobile phone has caused visitors to temporarily evacuate at a major theme park in Osaka, western Japan. (NHK)

A 70-year-old woman dubbed the “black widow” for allegedly murdering her husband and common-law partners with cyanide, pleaded innocent Monday at the first hearing of her trial at the Kyoto District Court. (Japan Times)

Fukuoka Prefectural Police have arrested a 44-year-old man for allegedly stalking a member of a popular idol group in Fukuoka City, reports TBS News (

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