Japan suffers rise in female suicides during pandemic

World

Japan suffers rise in female suicides during pandemic

Spate of deaths prompts questions about whether support services are helping those in need

Robin Harding

When the coronavirus pandemic began last year, Japan’s suicide-prevention specialists were most concerned about vulnerable retirees and the group that historically accounts for the country’s high suicide rate: middle-aged men suffering job loss or business failure.

But instead, according to official data, there was a concerning rise in suicide among young and middle-aged women. That has prompted a rush to understand why, amid concerns that Japan’s support systems are failing those who need help.

After years of decline since the economic crises of the 1990s, suicides in Japan rose in 2020 to 20,919, from 20,169 the previous year. But while the suicide rate among men was basically static, among women it rose 15% — from 6,091 to 6,976...

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