Nearly 20% of Japanese have considered suicide: survey


TOKYO — Almost 20 percent of Japanese adults have considered killing themselves, a survey has found, with half the respondents saying movies and television are contributing to the high suicide rate. The government said Friday it had carried out its first survey on attitudes to suicide among 1,808 men and women aged 20 or older nationwide from February to March.

It found that 19.1 percent of respondents had “seriously thought about committing suicide in the past.”

Among female respondents, 21.9 percent said they had considered suicide, compared with 16.3 percent of men.

A Cabinet Office official said the figures “are higher than we had expected,” adding the figure was particularly high among younger respondents, Kyodo News said.

Of the respondents, 58.2 percent said movies and television encouraged people to kill themselves by glossing over suicide, while 42.6 percent said movies and television dramas depicted too many suicides.

The majority, 76.1 percent, said they favored regulating Web sites that encouraged people to kill themselves by offering how-to information.

Suicides in Japan, which has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, topped 30,000 for the ninth straight year in 2006, although the figure was slightly down on the previous year.

Authorities have urged Internet providers to voluntarily crackdown on suicide Web sites and have voiced concern that widespread media coverage leads to more deaths.

The country has recently seen dozens of suicides and attempts using hydrogen sulfide gas produced according to instructions easily sourced on the Internet.