Number of suicides jumped shortly after March quake in 2011
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The number of suicides rose sharply in May last year, a police survey showed Friday, and the government suspects that economic hardship in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake was responsible for the spike.
The number of suicides in May jumped 21.2 percent to 3,375 from the same month a year earlier after staying at relatively low levels through March, according to the National Police Agency.
The total number of people who took their own lives in 2011 declined 3.3 percent to 30,651, the lowest number since the country's suicides exceeded 30,000 a year in 1998, it said.
The sharp rise in suicides in May coincided with increased corporate bankruptcies in April and May as well as drops in Japan's exports, said officials of the Cabinet Office, which interviewed local government officials and analyzed economic conditions after the March disaster.
There was a sharp increase around May in the number of suicides among people in their 30s who may have been hit particularly hard by economic problems linked to the quake, the office said.
The number of people who are believed to have killed themselves for economic reasons also rose notably around that time, it said.
Of people whose reasons for committing suicide could be found, the highest proportion, 14,621, killed themselves due to health problems in 2011, the police survey showed.
(Mainichi Japan) March 9, 2012