Suicides up in Japan for fourth straight month

NHK -- Nov 11
The number of suicides in Japan rose for a fourth straight month in October.

The National Police Agency says the number of people who took their lives last month was 2,153, up 39.9 percent from a year earlier. The monthly total is the highest in the past five years.

The number of men who killed themselves was up 21.3 percent, while that for women surged 82.6 percent.

Tokyo had the most suicides at 255, followed by Saitama, Kanagawa and Aichi prefectures, each with more than 100.

Shimizu Yasuyuki, who heads the Tokyo-based NPO Lifelink, sees the rapid increase as an emergency.

Shimizu says the rise may be partly due to news of actors' suicides and the prolonged negative impact of the coronavirus on jobs, lifestyles and personal relations.

He calls for detailed analyses of data and efforts to remove possible causes one by one, and urges society as a whole to take steps to protect lives.

Japan's health and welfare ministry says it doesn't know exactly why suicides are on the rise, but that many people are worried about the effect of the coronavirus on their lives and livelihoods.

The ministry is calling on people to not suffer alone, but to seek help from friends and family, support groups or municipalities.