In the year 2019, suicides in Japan fell to lowest number in over 40 years, police said on Friday while marking the 10th straight year of declines.
Though suicide has a long history in Japan as a way of avoiding shame or dishonour, and its suicide rate still tops the Group of Seven nations, a national effort has brought Japanese suicides down by about 40 percent in roughly 15 years.
The number of suicides in 2019 fell by 881 people, bringing the overall number under 20,000 for the first time since record-keeping began in 1978, according to preliminary police data published Friday.
The suicide rate edged down to 15.8 people per 100,000, a dip of 0.7. By contrast, the suicide rate in the United States, with more than twice Japan’s population, was 14 per 100,000 in 2017, the latest year for which data was available – although suicide is a growing problem there.