Bloomberg News

Japanese Suicides Exceed 30,000 for 14th Year on Health Woes

March 09, 2012

Suicides in Japan exceeded 30,000 for a 14th straight year in 2011, driven mainly by health issues, government figures show.

The number of cases fell 3.3 percent from a year earlier to 30,651, the Cabinet Office said in a report today. Suicides rose in April, May, June and August -- the months following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated towns in northeastern Japan and triggered a nuclear crisis.

In May, cases jumped 21 percent to 3,375, an increase that Tomohiko Karube, an official working on suicide prevention at the Cabinet Office, said was at least partly due to the economic fallout from the disaster. “Businesses may have suffered from a drop in exports,” Karube said.

The proportion of women who took their own lives last year rose 2 percentage points to 32 percent, the highest in 14 years, the figures show. Men accounted for 68 percent of the total.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kanoko Matsuyama in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Gale in Melbourne at

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