Suicide No. 1 Cause Of Death For Young People, Highest In G7


It is well known that suicide rates in Japan are relatively high. Moreover, in Japan suicide has a different cultural status than in many Western countries, given that Japan is not a Christian country and that there are multiple examples of historical suicides that are presented as honorable deaths.

However, recent data have revealed that while the number of suicides among the middle aged and elderly are falling, the number of suicides among young people appears to be rising, making Japan the only nation in the G7 where suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 39.

2ch netizens, many of whom are thought to be in the most at-risk demographic, point to the pressure on young people to work hard and support the aging population as the cause of the high suicide rate, with others suggesting that the data are skewed.


Suicide Among The Young In Japan Is The Highest In The G7. Why Are Japan’s Young People Choosing To Die?

The annual number of suicides in Japan is falling on the whole. Although for the 14 years following 1998 they number of people who committed suicide exceeded 30,000 people, since 2012 they have started to fall below 30,000 people, and according to police in 2014 the number of people who committed suicide was 25,218.

Still, it has to be said that suicides among young people are a serious issue. In Japan, the leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 39 is suicide (broken down by gender, it is the leading cause of death for men aged between 15 and 44, and for women aged between 15 and 34).

A Japanese suicide prevention poster

There are a lot of organizations that focus on suicide prevention, such as “Life Line”.

Indeed, among the G7 nations it is only Japan whose leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 34 is suicide. The mortality rate from suicide in Japan is around twice that of America, France and Canada, and around three times that of Germany and the UK. It is four times that of Italy.

Graph showing comparison of causes of death in G7 nations. In Japan, suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 - 34.

Graph showing a comparison of mortality rates in people aged between 15 and 34 in the G7. From the top the nations are: Japan, France, Germany, Canada, US, UK, and Italy. The black bar represents death from suicide; the gray bar represents accidental deaths. The numbers refer to the number of deaths per 100,000 people.


Researcher Yamauchi Takashi (cognitive behavioral sciences/ epidemiology) of the General Strategy Center For Suicide Prevention, which is part of the Research Institute for Mental Health at the National Psychological and Psychiatric Treatment Center, told us the following about the trend:

“In all the G7 nations apart from Japan, among young people, death from illnesses such as cancer or due to a road traffic accident is much more common than suicide. However, while the rate of suicides among the middle aged and elderly has fallen in Japan, this psychological weakness stands out among younger people. I wonder if this is because who don’t educate our young people on how to deal with stress as they do in other countries? It seems that the suicide rate among the middle aged and elderly will continue to fall, but among young people there is an upward trend. Furthermore, attempted suicides are not included in these numbers. In cases where people are rushed to hospital due to self-inflicted injuries there are usually more women, but when we include the attempted suicides among young people, the number seems pretty substantial.

Before people start to worry about suicide, we would like them to knock on the door of independent or volunteer organizations where they can discuss their feelings.

Comments from

名無しさん@5月17日まで板ルール集中議論中 :

Tell us something we don’t know.


We shouldn’t be asking why. They’ve been asking why for years. (´・ω・`)


It’s better than hurting others.
If a steady number of us aren’t weeded out, then the world won’t go ‘round.


It’s because of national policy.
People don’t have the strength to go on living.

名無しさん@5月17日まで板ルール集中議論中 :

It’s because the older generations are hanging on for dear life.


Young people have their jobs and their money taken from them by the elderly.
From the moment they are born, they are 10,000,000 yen down.


There’s so much suicide because Japan is a nation without a dream.


Surely it’s much more of a problem when young people are dying from causes other than suicide? w


I suppose it’s because in Japan we have a lot of atheists.


They’re just dealing with things by taking responsibility for themselves, without causing problems for the nation or other people.


I bet it’s because of bullying.
I was bullied when I was young, but it was just physical violence. These days there’s psychological bullying, so I guess that’s why people choose suicide.


Virtually all the other G7 nations are Christian countries…


Seems obvious given that all of society is throwing young people on the fire and living from their warmth.


This is a country that sells its young down the river to make those old fogies and hags pointlessly live on.


A lot of these guys kill themselves over stupid stuff, like because they were dumped by a girl, or because they got fired from work.


They’re just choosing to die as humans instead of live as slaves.


When even an expert sums up the reason for suicide as being a psychological weakness among young people, then there ain’t no cure…


It’s because in foreign countries you get killed or die from illness before you can commit suicide.


I guess these stats mean that in Japan the number of people who die from something other than suicide is extremely low.
Japan’s a safe country, and both traffic accidents and illness are few and far between.

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  • Born in the USA~

    Why is accidental death so many in US?

    • risotto

      It’s hard to tell, because they’re accidents. Preventable, in most cases, but also lots of people in the US are short-sighted and don’t pay attention (or ignore things altogether). =/

      • Born in the USA~

        Americans should pay more attention and widen their sight!!!

    • xv

      Guns. Always hear of cases like that mother in walmart who got shot by her two year old, and some fool who killed his wife while he was shooting holes in the wall of his house (rather than use a drill)

      • Chestnut Bowl

        Accidental gun deaths are only about 1% of all accidental deaths in the US according to the CDC.

        • Born in the USA~

          really? I’ve always thought that NRA makes much bigger evil. Sorry NRA, but I still hate you.

    • suki

      difference is usa has a higher pop. growth than death rate. while nippon has a higher death rate than population growth

      • justmega

        How does that explain BITU’s question?

        • justmega

          rather, answer.

          • David

            It does not directly answer the question but it addresses the impact on the country. In Japan this is a serious problem for the country but in the U.S. it does not affect the country in the same way.

    • Chestnut Bowl
      • Born in the USA~

        sorry, I can’t read English. But thanks for showing the data. Btw you in the pic are so cute, so yeah! you’ll be a gorgeous woman!!!

  • Comebackkid13

    “Surely it’s much more of a problem when young people are dying from causes other than suicide?” – Classic deflect and redirect. Aikido argument

    “Seems obvious given that all of society is throwing young people on the fire and living from their warmth.” – Probably getting closer to the mark.

    • kazu_no_ko

      I cringed when I specifically read those two comments. It’s sad to have that kind of mentality. The youth are the future. Wouldn’t it be wise to help them rather than let them suffer silently? If parents, instructors, mentors and employers were taught to look for warning signs and reach out to the youth, the future would be much brighter for Japan as a whole. It’s worrisome that netizens are so indifferent to these statistics even if the results seem skewed. I wish netizens would see that the problem isn’t the “weak-minded” youth, it’s society’s indifference and lack of desire to fix the issue.

  • risotto

    I don’t know what’s more upsetting: the stats themselves, or the comments that are more or less downplaying the problem like, “at least it’s not something like illness or accidents LOL?”

    • Gaijin

      Japanese tend to downplay everything that seems to hurt their international image abroad. They keep all their social problems swept under the carpet. Their media is also now completely controlled by their government, and parrots out the propaganda that everything in Japan is just all hunky dory, and that Japan is an utopia of some kind. It’s a very strange and abnormal society in a different dimension. The truth is, Japan leads the OECD (ages 15 to 39), and leads the world in youth suicides by far. There are tons of reasons why they’re all killing themselves, but Japan won’t look into them closely because that might harm their image abroad and hurt the social cohesiveness at home. You can never complain in Japan, you’ll end up being ostracized and labelled/marked for life.

  • commander

    This post regarding suicide as No.1 killer for youth in Japan stands in marked contrast with the one about Japan’s exploration of possible penalty for NEETS– standing for “Not in Education, Employment or Training,” as Belarus did.

    The main reaction to NEET people is in favor of penalty in the previous post, while this post has different responses, like Japan is a dreamless country for young people.

    This dichotomy may be a reflection of complexity of multiple problems facing Japan, a country entering another stagnant decade in the economy after two lost decades starting in the 1990s.

  • bultak23

    the first step in understanding suicide is to know that there are different motivations, for example loss of a spouse or in another case feeling that things will never get better.

  • vonskippy

    Meh – it’s just culling the herd, removing the weak and/or stupid from the gene pool. The solution? Don’t raise such snowflakes.

  • “here’s so much suicide because Japan is a nation without a dream.”

    Holy 10/10

  • Gerhana

    I watched this documentary before and I find that it tackle the issue quite well by identifying the variables that lead people (specifically the Japanese) to suicide, and what kind of intervention is needed (but not feasible / lacking / unwilling to be implemented)

  • James


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