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Suicide rate in Japan 2018, by age group

Number of suicides per 100,000 inhabitants in Japan in 2018, by age group

by Julia Engelmann, last edited Sep 24, 2019
Suicide rate in Japan 2018, by age group Middle-aged men are frequently portrayed as the highest-risk group for suicide in Japan. However, suicides among elderly and school children are recurrently picked up by media, with financial anxiety, bullying, isolation and the lack of a proficient mental healthcare system being only some of the factors blamed for contributing to the country’s high suicide rates amongst all age groups. In 2018, the 50 to 59-year age group had the highest suicide rate in Japan with around 22.3 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
What do recent suicide developments in Japan look like in numbers?

Japan’s suicide numbers peaked in 2009, when the country experienced its worst recession since World War II. That same year, the suicide rate surged to 25.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants and almost 33 thousand victims in total. Despite noticeably decreasing suicide numbers in recent years, Japan still has one of the highest suicide rates among high-income OECD nations. In 2018, the country reported 16.5 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
From a gender perspective, men are more likely to commit suicide than women, with 23.2 deaths per 100,000 male inhabitants in 2018, as opposed to a female suicide rate of 10.1 in the same year.

What are the reasons behind Japan’s high suicide rates?

Historically, Japan’s high suicide rates are closely linked to the economic situation of the individuals. While the majority of suicides in Japan stemmed from health reasons, existential worries and problems directly related to work accounted for over 5,000 self-inflicted deaths in 2018.
The most profound issue faced by employees in Japan leading to self-harm was exhaustion. An increasing pressure of retaining jobs by putting in more hours of overtime, while taking fewer holidays and sick days are seen as the main motivators behind the rising suicide numbers among office workers and employees. Occupational sudden mortality, known as karoshi ("death by overwork") is a well-known phenomenon in Japanese society. Besides physical pressure, mental stress from the workplace can cause karoshi. Suicide due to occupational stress or overwork is called karojisatsu ("overwork suicide") in Japan.
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Number of suicides per 100,000 inhabitants in Japan in 2018, by age group

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