Gov’t releases first disaster-related suicide rates

08/06/2011
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TOKYO (majirox news) — Sixteen people committed suicide in connection with the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake in Japan during June, the Prime Minister’s Office announced Aug. 5, the first time the government has disclosed information about suicides related to the disasters.

Miyagi prefecture accounted for half of the 16 victims, Iwate prefecture a further 3, Fukushima prefecture two and there was one self-inflicted death in Tokyo and Ibaraki and Saitama prefectures, the National Police Agency (NPA) said.

Those in their 60s accounted for six of the victims and were the most common demographic, while 11 of those who died were men, almost double the six women who killed themselves.

NPA officials said health problems were the reasons behind five of the suicides, following by family problems and economic or lifestyle problems, which both accounted for four deaths apiece.

Nationally, 2,985 people took their own lives during June, meaning the disaster-related suicide rate about 0.5% of the overall total.

The government obtained its figures from the NPA. The government defined a disaster-related suicide as one where either the body had been found in an evacuation center or temporary housing, the person had lived in either of these types of places, was an evacuee from the disasters or had left a message about the disasters prior to their death.

The government plans to issue a monthly report on the number of disaster-related suicides that occur.

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