Japan, the world’s third largest economy, decided to avoid harsh US and European-style lock downs in the spring, and has reported about 145,000 Covid-19 cases and 2,042 deaths since March, with its caseload estimated to be the 47th largest in the world.
Japan is suffering from a surge in suicides, with the number of people taking their own lives reportedly outstripping fatalities caused by Covid-19 by nearly an entire order of magnitude, according to recently-released National Police Agency statistics.
According to the figures, 2,153 people in Japan committed suicide in October 2020, with the figures rising by over 25%, or 600 people, compared to the same period in 2019, and total suicide deaths reaching over 17,000 in the first ten months of 2020.
The suicide deaths in Empire of the Rising Sun also vastly exceeds the nation’s murder rate: police in Japan recorded 950 murder cases in 2019. Aokigahara shows to be Japan’s erie suicide forest.
Japan has reported 2,242 Corona-virus-related fatalities since the start of the pandemic, with this number equivalent to just over 12% of the number of people who have claimed their own lives so far this year.
CBS News says suicide rates have likely been “exacerbated” by the social and economic dislocation caused by the Corona-virus crisis, including things like job loss, a sense of social insecurity and a rise in domestic violence.
Japan hQSas so far managed to avoid harsh lock downs in its efforts to curb Covid’s spread, limiting efforts to health guidelines encouraging citizens to self-isolate, practice social distancing, wear a mask and limit unnecessary travel. No fines or criminal sanctions have been introduced.
Commenting on state efforts to increase support for people in psychological distress, including funding for things like suicide hotlines and social media campaigns, government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said Tokyo needs “to seriously confront” the “reality” of rising suicide rates.
Earlier this month, Yokohama-based psychiatrist Chiyoko Ueda said she had observed an uptick in psychological stress levels in her practice due to concerns over money, problems caused by stay-at-home orders, and tensions within families.
Japan has long suffered from some of the highest suicide rates in the developed world, with the number of people taking their own lives skyrocketing to over 25,000 per year starting in the mid-1980’s to 30,000+ from the late 1990’s onward before hitting a record of 34,427 suicide deaths in 2005.
Rising suicide rates are one of the issues world leaders have brought up in debates about the costs associated with Corona-virus-related restrictions such as lock downs.
In October, US President Donald Trump warned that “the cure” for the Corona-virus-related health crisis “cannot be worse than the problem itself”.
People are losing their jobs. They’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level that nobody’s ever seen before.
There’s abuse, tremendous abuse. We have to open our country,” Trump said, making the comments during his second debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
The world’s nations have reported over 62.3 million Corona-virus cases and 1.45 million deaths since the pandemic began, with upwards of 0.8% of the world’s population infected in the past eight months.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Health News 2020.