Japan still has the reputation of being one of the countries with the highest suicide rate, but is that true? In this article we will show that this is no longer true and how Japan ended up with half the suicides.
Whenever good news about Japan is published on social media, some unfortunate person comments on things like “in Japan people commit suicide” or “in Japan people kill themselves at work“.
Disgusted by this misinformation and widespread news, I decided to write this article that will show in detail how Japan is no longer one of the countries with the highest number of suicides.
Before we start, I would like to point out that Japan does have a high suicide rate, but not as people think. In fact, the point we want to highlight is how Japan cut that number in half.
This article is very big, I wanted to do a complete research and share all my opinion and data here. Thinking about it, I will leave below a Summary and a Summary of the point that I will highlight:
This article will highlight how Japan decreased the suicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants from 35 to 17 and how it dropped from the top ten to the thirtieth position in the global suicide ranking.
Table of Conents - Why is Japan reputed to be a suicidal country? - How do the Japanese view suicide? - How did Japan become one of the countries with the highest number of suicides? - Japan cut suicides in half - Japan in the Suicide Ranking - Suicide in Brazil is greater than in Japan?
Why is Japan reputed to be a suicide country?
Before we talk about data and history, we need to clear up a mess that many rankings and searches on the internet make. There are two ways to calculate the number of suicides in a country, with the total and the proportion.
I am already saying that there are dozens of countries with a suicide rate much higher than Japan. The difference is that most of these countries are small, which results in a much smaller total of suicides.
Japan is already among the 10 most populous countries in the world, despite being a small island, which incredibly has 80% of forests and mountains, and many giant houses, since most of them accumulate in Tokyo.
Logically, even if Japan has a low proportional average of suicides, its country will stand out in the total value for having 127 million people. Not to mention that Japan is a first world country.
It is obvious that the media will always use Japan as an example of suicide, for having a reasonably high average, for being a first world country and for being a small country where things circulate.
There was a recent year that Japan was 17 with an average of suicides per 100,000 inhabitants. What are 17 people out of 100,000? This results in a total of 21,000 suicides per year. Is that a high value?
Of course it is a high and unfortunate figure, but out of the 17 people we have 99,983 people who live in Japan normally with their lives without wanting to kill themselves. There is no reason to use this number to denigrate the country’s image.
How do the Japanese view suicide?
Culturally, the Japanese have a suicidal history. Japanese people generally believe in life after death, reincarnation and deliverance, so suicide ends up being an option for them.
While Christians who dominate the West believe that suicide is a sin and disrespect for life. Samurai in Japan committed suicide with honor and pride by punching their bellies in seppuku.
Following the culture of samurai, Japanese men, when they lose their jobs or divorce, end up feeling that they have dishonored themselves and their families and that suicide is the most honorable way out of the situation.
So much so that currently the problem itself is not even the suicide rate but the people who commit suicide. Suicide is the main culprit for the number of deaths among young people aged 20 to 40 years.
I believe that the rate could be much lower if the Japanese were a little more sociable and did not suffer so much pressure and were a little more carefree about things. Fortunately today the scenario has been like this!
The lack of psychological support is another thing that is lacking in Japan. They are not in the habit of consulting with psychologists and psychiatrists, nor of doing therapies. This absence can also negatively affect the Japanese.
How did Japan become one of the countries with the highest number of suicides?
It was after the second world war that Japan rose from the ashes. Many Japanese traumatized by the war ended up committing suicide in the meantime. Something that happens today, with many still alive.
Unfortunately this is not unique to Japan. Research in the United States reported that thousands of ex-soldiers committed suicide over the years. The consequences of the war take centuries to disappear.
In addition to the trauma of war, Japanese suffered the trauma of the nuclear bomb, shortages of food, economic crisis, devastation and some earthquakes and tsunami that took the lives of loved ones.
Before the 1940s, Japan had a very low suicide rate, because the country was doing well on several issues until the war arrived. In the 1960s, Japan had the highest suicide rate.
To end economic problems, Japan began an intense campaign and investment in education and work. This made it the third largest economy in the world, but with consequences.
In the beginning it worked a lot, Japan managed to stay at a low rate between the 90s until it reached an economic recession in 1998. This caused the suicide rate to skyrocket by more than 35%.
That is how Japan probably gained the reputation of being one of the countries with the highest suicide rate in the world. At that time the number in some surveys exceeded 30 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
It has been years since the number of suicides in Japan has reached close to 40,000 a year. In these years of crisis, Japan always stood out first in the suicide rankings, but it has never been the biggest.
Japan cut suicides in half
While Japan’s suicide rate was close to 30 at the beginning of the century, today the rate is between 14 and 16 according to some surveys like WHO. How was Japan able to do such a feat?
This has not just happened with suicides, Japan has lowered the crime, death and violence rate every year. The only things he has failed to reduce are sexual harassment and bicycle thefts.
All of this is thanks to the actions of the government that launched a nine-step plan in 2007 called the “White Paper against suicide”. The plan was a success and since 2009 Japan has managed to bring down the number of suicides each year:
More than 10 billion were invested each year to reduce the country’s suicide rate in order to lower the rate by 20%. The results were clear, Japan managed to almost halve the number of suicides.
The investment trained doctors, created a training of legal advisers to care for those who were indebted indebtedly, took strong measures against websites, a chat room and suicide bulletins and emphasized treatments for depression.
The workload has also been decreasing more and more. The government and some companies have discouraged workaholics from taking their holidays and not working long hours.
A measure was even stipulated that limits the amount of overtime worked in the week and month. Unfortunately, some factories and offices circumvent this law using some loopholes as unpaid work.
It is common to find most of the time Japanese people doing nothing. This idea that Japanese people die of work, despite having a background of truth, I also claim to be a little exaggerated and does not cover the majority.
There is still a long way to go, but financial conditions have improved in Japan over the past decade. We do not know how the population will react in the face of another financial crisis.
Although the number is falling, there are poor countries like the Philippines that have a much lower suicide rate below 5. Unfortunately, Brazil is no example, as Brazil’s rate is close to 12.
Japan in the Suicide Ranking
Before talking about the rankings I wanted to point out that they are inaccurate. Researching different rankings, I found very different numbers in the same year in relation to some countries. Working with estimates is kind of weird.
To disprove Japan’s position in the ranking of suicides, let’s analyze the world rankings a little. There are currently more than 30 countries with suicide greater than Japan according to WHO. Here is the list below:
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It’s amazing, Japan was in its 32s and now it’s 14.3. Of course, there is still no reason to be proud, this number needs to decrease even more, if possible, to be less than 10 per 100,000 inhabitants.
We can see that although Japan is in thirtieth on the list, it is one of the richest countries present in it. Yet there are developed countries on the list like South Korea and Russia.
We must highlight that there are rich and developed countries that are dragging on Japan’s side. United States has 13.7, Finland has 13.8 and several other European countries are around 13.
In fact, Europe is the continent with the highest number of suicides, even though most countries in the ranking are located in Africa. Even the Americas appears before Africa in the ranking of the highest suicide rate by continent.
Suicide in Brazil is greater than in Japan?
Although Japan has cut the number of suicides in half, it is still high, being one of the highest among first world countries. Fortunately, let’s hope he keeps going down, soon the USA will pass.
Now I want to comment on something that bothered me and made me write this article. People love to cite the suicide factor to denigrate Japan’s image and say that Japanese people are not happy.
Of course, it is undeniable that suicides in Japan still occur in high numbers, about 30% more than in Brazil. Still, if we compare the total number of suicides, Brazil may have a higher number.
Not that the total amount makes any sense, since Brazil has almost twice the population of Japan. Still, Brazil is not in a position to criticize Japan for its high suicide rate when it is in a worse situation.
Brazilians commit suicide in other ways, indulging in violent practices and drug addictions that result in the death of themselves or other innocent people. Despite all the problems related to security in Brazil, thousands of Brazilians live happily in the country.
In the same way that many Brazilians love their country and would not abandon it despite the terrible conditions and the small probability of being murdered, there is no reason why the Japanese view life in the country in a negative way because of the number of suicides.
In the same way that Brazilians are used to so many problems and do not feel so much impact with the recurring tragedies, the Japanese have become accustomed to the suicides that occur in society.
I think that each country has its problems, but we cannot let something negative affect our way of life, nor that it becomes a fear or weakness. Each has its reality, we should not rely on the others.
Imagine if the Japanese were afraid of an earthquake and tsunami like the Brazilians have when talking about Japan? There is a saying that it is easier for someone to be hit by a cow in Japan than in a tsunami.
In the same way that no one likes when we rate Brazilians as criminals, there is no reason to rate Japanese as suicide bombers, as this does not cover the reality of most citizens who live their lives happy and good people.
In any case, Brazil needs to stop looking at others and try to solve the growing problems of depression, suicide numbers, robberies and murders that have been rising every year in the country.
I hope that this article has not gotten a little biased or confused, my only goal is to end the generalization that people spread on the internet. I hope you enjoyed it, if possible share it with as many people as possible and leave your comments.