Japan: Dangerous Suicide Rate

by Justin on Septembre 5, 2017 - 3:34am

In an article published on BBC by Rupert Wingfield-Hayes on July 3rd, 2015, alarming numbers about suicide are listed. In fact, over 2014, more than 25 000 people committed suicide. This means a rate of 70 every day. "Isolation is the number one precursor for depression and suicide," says Wataru Nishida, a psychologist at Tokyo's Temple University. Seeking help for people who need it can be troublesome. There is a shortage of psychiatrists, and the industry is “free-for-all”, meaning anyone can decide to advertise him or herself as a counsellor, without the need of any official document or verification. This makes it hard to know if the person actually knows what they are doing. In this country, depression is automatically associated with suicide, and it is an extremely taboo subject. People do not know much about it, which makes those suffering from depression scared to talk about it. But why is Japan in such a state?


Japan’s work culture is very different from America’s or Europe’s. Over 22% of Japanese work 14 hours every day. “Yuu Wakebe, a health ministry official overseeing policy on working hours, who admits putting in 100 hours of overtime a month, blames the irresistible pressure to match one’s colleagues, hour for hour.” A lot of pressure is put on the Japanese, and this influences every aspect of their lives. Almost no one, says Erika Sekiguchi, takes their full vacations. Children are taught as early as elementary school that very hard work is to be praised, as vacations are very short, and packed with homework. They are working all the time, and this leaves room to very little time to rest and take time for themselves. Technology is also to blame for this high suicide rate in Japan. In the small amount of time people have to take care of them, they isolate themselves from other people, making social interactions even more rare and hard to deal with. They spend all their free time on computers and intelligent technology, and this makes them forget how to act in front of real people. Mr. Nishida says "Young people in Japan have a lot of knowledge, but they have no life experience. They have no idea how to express their emotions. So when young people do find themselves isolated and depressed, they have few places to turn to.” Young people in Japan need to be taught that time to rest and socialize with other people is important, because maintaining a good mental health is as important as maintaining our physical bodies healthy. They should be forced out of work to go on their entire vacations every holidays, without work to worry about, and use the advanced technology Japan has to strengthen bonds with other beings.



Both Rupert Wingfield-Hayes and Justin McMcurry have lived in Japan for about 20 years, and have been reporters for a good while, which makes them reliable sources as of what concerns Japan.

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