Someone sent me a link to an article written last December concerning the suicide attempts made at Tojimbo Cliffs in Fukui prefecture. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/world/asia/18japan.html?_r=2>.
The article reminded me of other Christian churches and pastors working in the same way to prevent suicides at near-by famous scenic areas. The Pastor Yabuchi of the Shirahama Baptist Church in Wakayama is one of those. His website is in Japanese <http://www.aikis.or.jp/~fujiyabu/nrsv1.htm>.
Then I found this article at Wikipedia: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_Japan>
What a huge reminder to pray for Japanese who have lost hope!
Suicide in Japan has become a significant problem nationally. Factors in suicide include unemployment (due to the economic recession in the 1990s), depression, and social pressures. Suicide is predominately the result of a combination of factors such as healthcare provision, social attitudes, cultural influences and economic distress. In 2007, the National Police Agency revised the categorization of motives for suicide into a division of 50 reasons with up to three reasons listed for each suicide. Suicides traced to losing jobs surged 65.3 percent while those attributed to hardships in life increased 34.3 percent. Depression remained at the top of the list for the third year in a row, rising 7.1 percent from the previous year.
The rapid increase in suicides since the 1990s has raised concerns. For example, 1998 saw a 34.7% increase over the previous year. Japan has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, especially amongst industrialized nations, and the Japanese government reported the rate for 2006 as being the ninth highest in the world.
In 2009, the number of suicides rose 2 percent to 32,845 exceeding 30,000 for the twelfth straight year and equating to nearly 26 suicides per 100,000 people. This amounts to approximately one suicide every 15 minutes. However, this figure is somewhat disputed since it is arguably capped by the conservative definition of “suicide” that has been adopted by the Japanese authorities, which differs from the WHO‘s definition. Some people thus suggest a rather larger figure of 100,000 suicides a year. Currently, the conservative per year estimate is still significantly higher than for any other OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) country. In comparison, the UK rate is about 9 per 100,000, and the US rate around 11 per 100,000.