Suicides owing to economic distress and living difficulties are increasing

In Japan, more than 30,000 people have committed suicide every year since 1997. Under the prolonged economic recession, more than 6,000 people, mainly in their 40s and 50s, killed themselves for four consecutive years due to uncertainty about debts, unemployment, and other economic problems.

Lawyer Kawahito Hiroshi, a well-known specialist in lawsuits over death from overwork (karoshi) said that this is a much higher figure than in any other developed countries.

Ikeda Hiroshi, secretary of the National Center to Defend Workers' Lives and Health, said that it is extraordinary that the number of suicides is more than three times that of deaths from traffic accidents.

Pointing out that the lingering recession and corporate restructuring are the causes of increasing overwork, stress, mental diseases, and suicides, Ikeda emphasized the need for steps to deal with increasing unemployment, control long working hours and tight work schedules, and provide mental health care for workers. (end)