Japan Data

Suicides in Japan Decrease Slightly in 2021

Society

Suicides in Japan fell 0.4% in 2021 from the previous year, but the rate for women rose for the second year running and remained high for youth.

The number of suicides in Japan in 2021 totaled 21,007, a decrease of 74 (0.4%) compared with 2020. The number of suicides per 100,000 people rose by 0.1 to 16.8. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare compiled the information based on statistics from the Police Agency.

By cause or motive, “health issues” was ranked highest, as a contributing factor in 9,860 suicides (47%). This was followed by “economic/livelihood issues” (3,376) and “family issues” (3,200).

Suicides among men fell for the twelfth consecutive year, by 116 over the preceding year, to 13,939. But suicides among women increased for the second consecutive year, by 42, to 7,068. A major cause is believed to be uncertain employment prospects caused by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. Compared with the previous year, by age group, there was an increase of 90 people aged in their twenties (to 2,611 people), and of 193 people in their fifties (to 3,618). The year also saw the second highest number of cases of school students, after 2020, with 473 taking their own lives.

The prefectures with the highest suicide mortality rates were Aomori and Yamanashi (both 23.7), Niigata (21.3), Wakayama (21.1) and Kōchi (20.5). Kanagawa and Ishikawa recorded the lowest rates (both 13.2), while Tokyo’s rate was 16.3.

The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare says that in many cases people feel driven to kill themselves because of social issues that can be addressed, so the government is promoting comprehensive suicide prevention measures involving health, medical care, welfare, education, labor, and other fields. It has set up a special website with telephone hotlines, and services on social media, such as Line. The site also provides easy-to-understand information about government measures to prevent suicides.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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