Tokyo, Nov. 2 (Jiji Press)–The number of working women in Japan who committed suicide rose sharply last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, government data showed Tuesday.
A government white paper said that 1,698 working women committed suicide in 2020, compared with the annual average of 1,323 between 2015 and 2019.
The increase “signaled the impact of the pandemic,” the health ministry said. “It’s possible that the rise reflected changes in the working environment among nonregular workers,” it said.
The total number of people in Japan who killed themselves in 2020 rose by 912 from the previous year to 21,081.
The suicide rate, which represents the number of suicides per 100,000 population, grew 0.8 point to 16.8, marking the first increase in 11 years.
The number of men who committed suicide fell to 14,055, marking the 11th consecutive year of decline. Among women, the number rose by nearly 1,000 from the previous year to 7,026.
The white paper said that the number of women without a job who killed themselves was down by 28 from the average of the past five years. Among men, the number fell for both with and without a job.
Among women, the number of suicides increased for those aged 19 and younger, those between 20 and 39 and those between 40 and 59. For men, the number increased among those aged 19 and younger.
Of female suicides, those involving employed people and students increased while those among housewives and self-employed people fell.
The number of women who killed themselves for reasons related to work rose 34.8 pct. Of them, cases involving changes in the working environment soared 98.3 pct.
The country had 1,038 suicides among students in 2020. Of them, cases involving elementary to senior high school students hit a record high of 499.
Compared with the five-year average, the number of student suicides climbed in June and September when schools reopened after pandemic-induced closures.