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Japan’s suicide rate ranks sixth, highest among advanced nations

  • May 19, 2017
  • , Mainichi , p. 26
  • JMH Translation

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has put together analyses of the number of suicides per 100,000 people among countries in the world. Japan ranks sixth, nearly the highest rate among advanced countries. The suicide rate among women is especially high, ranking third among all countries. This appears in the government White Paper on Suicide Prevention to be approved by the cabinet later this month.


As the credibility of statistics and the frequency of updating records differ among countries, it is difficult to make simple comparisons among them. For these reasons, the World Suicide Report compiled in 2014 by the World Health Organization (WHO) has no ranking.


The MHLW used the WHO’s data and made the ranking based on countries for which statistics on population and suicide were available after 2013.


Japan’s suicide rate for 2014 was 19.5%, second highest in Asia after South Korea. Japan’s suicide rate for men was 27.7%, ranking twelfth; the rate for women was 11.7%, ranking third after South Korea and Suriname. Among the G-8 countries, Japan ranked second after Russia (21.8%).


According to National Police Agency statistics, a total of 21,897 people took their own life in 2016 (15,121 men, 6,776 women). The number of suicides marked a record high of 34,427 in 2003, but since then the number has continued to decline. The suicide rate is the highest among the middle aged and elderly, but the smallest decline is among young people. The NPA observed that it is necessary to reduce the suicide rate for people in their 20s and 30s.



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