Japan Data

Suicide Rate for Minors Highest Ever in Japan

Health Lifestyle Society

Despite an overall decrease in the number of suicides in Japan, the rise in such deaths among minors aged 19 and younger is cause for concern.

According to the white paper on suicide prevention measures for 2020, as compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, the overall number of suicides in Japan in 2019 fell for the tenth consecutive year, to a record low of 20,169. The ratio of deaths by suicide per 100,000 people has also fallen overall over the last 10 years. The figure for 2019 was 16.0, the lowest since statistics began to be compiled in 1978.

The number of suicides by those under 20, however, rose 10% over the previous year to 659, the highest since 2000. The suicide rate per 100,000 people also increased by 0.3 points to 3.1, setting a new record. Up to three suspected causes or motives per person were tallied, based on such evidence as notes left behind, and among 618 of the total, 202 included problems at school as the main cause, followed by 138 with health problems, and 116 with problems at home.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for each age group between 15 and 39 in Japan. It is the only Group of Seven country where suicide is the leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 34, and the death rate itself is high compared to the other countries.

Leading Causes of Death by Age Group in Japan

Age Group Top Three Causes of Death
Overall Cancer/heart disease/old age
10–14 Cancer/suicide/accident
15–19 Suicide/accident/cancer
20–24 Suicide/accident/cancer
25–29 Suicide/cancer/accident
30–34 Suicide/cancer/accident
35–39 Suicide/cancer/heart disease
40–44 Cancer/suicide/heart disease
45–49 Cancer/suicide/heart disease

Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

Leading Causes of Death for People Aged 15-34 by Country

  1 2 3
Japan Suicide (16.3) Accident Cancer
France Accident Suicide (7.9) Other
Germany Accident Suicide (7.5) Cancer
Canada Accident Suicide (10.6) Cancer
United States Accident Suicide (14.1) Homicide
Britain Accident Suicide (7.4) Cancer
Italy Accident Cancer Suicide (4.1)
South Korea Suicide (16.3) Accident Cancer

Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. Numbers in parentheses show the number of suicides per 100,000 population. Figures are for 2015 apart from France (2014) and Canada (2013).

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: © Pixta.)