Steady fall in suicides offers glimmer of hope in Japan

By on March 23, 2017


Fewer Japanese are taking their own lives, a positive sign in a country with one of the world's highest suicide rates. (Photo: Moyan Brenn/Flickr)
Fewer Japanese are taking their own lives, a positive sign in a country with one of the world’s highest suicide rates. (Photo: Moyan Brenn/Flickr)

TOKYO—Fewer Japanese are taking their own lives, a positive sign in a country with one of the world’s highest suicide rates.

The Health Ministry said Thursday that 21,897 people committed suicide in 2016, down from more than 30,000 in 2011 and the lowest number since 1994. Of those, 15,121 were male and 6,776 were female. It was the seventh straight year that the number of suicides had declined.

The government has made a determined effort to tackle the issue, starting with national legislation in 2006.

Japan’s suicide rate of 17.3 per 100,000 people remains high compared to most other countries. The U.S. suicide rate is around 13 per 100,000, and the United Kingdom is under 10.