Was Shinkansen Suicide Over Pension Worries?

A Japanese pension book.

A Japanese pension book.

The Internet is still awash with stories about yesterday’s shinkansen suicide. Today’s most read story of the day on Yahoo! Japan revealed that the man who covered himself with kerosene and set himself alight on the Osaka-bound train had been worried about his pension.

Friends of the man told interviewers that he’d often said he was going to kill himself because his pension was too little. They had also seen him go to buy the kerosene that he eventually used to take his own life.

But netizens remain unsympathetic, insisting that his actions were ultimately selfish since they injured other people. Some also point out that while the man might have been unhappy with the size of his pension, he should have spared a thought for the younger generation, many of whom may never be able to receive a pension despite paying in to one.

From Yahoo! Japan:

Day Before Suicide Shinkansen Arson Suspect Hayasaki Took Plastic Container And Said “I’m Going To The Gas Station”; Unhappy With Pension So Said “I’m Going To Kill Myself”

In the incident where a passenger committed suicide by burning himself to death inside a Nozomi train on the Tokaido shinkansen, in which two people died and a further 26 suffered serious injuries, it was revealed on July 1 in an interview with one of his acquaintances that deceased suspect Hayasaki Haruo (71) that had been holding an empty plastic container close to his home in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward, and had said he was “going to the gas station”.

At just past 3pm on June 29, a female acquaintance witnessed Hayashi walking along a road in Nishiogikita, also Suginami Ward, with an empty white plastic container balanced on a cart. The woman called to him, “Where are you going?”, and Hayashi is said to have simply replied “To the gas station”.

The woman, who thought he was going to buy kerosene, inquired, “You don’t need that do you? It’s so hot out”, but Hayasaki went by without saying a word. Immediately afterward, the woman’s husband (73), saw Hayasaki come home: “The plastic container looked blackish, but I couldn’t tell you what he had in there”. He said there was nothing particularly unusual about Hayasaki at that time.

For more than a month before, Hayasaki had repeatedly told the woman that “My pension is really low. I’ll hang myself in front of National Pension Fund Association”.

The couple had known Hayasaki for forty years. Hayashi had gone from job to job; he had taken his guitar and been a traveling singer in bars and had even worked as a school bus driver for a kindergarten, and up until last year he had been working for a cleaning company, but recently he is said to have had no fixed employment.

The woman said, slouching her shoulders, that “Hayashi was a very logical person. He wasn’t the kind of person to go and do something like that. It’s such a pity”.

Comments from Yahoo! Japan:


You’re not the only one who’s unhappy with their pension.
Things are going to be much crueler for those who come after the current working generation.
Why didn’t he understand that massive inconvenience has been caused thanks to the selfish actions of an individual…


When the reason behind his arson is a bloody pension, such bitter regret for the families of those who died.


And all this when he’s from a generation who’ll get out more than they put in! Shameless doesn’t even cover it…


Seems like his pension was 240,000 yen — that’s not a small amount.


Why commit suicide on a shinkansen. What has arson on a shinkansen got to do with having complaints about your pension?


Just as it says in the article, it would have been more meaningful to hang yourself in front of the National Pensions Fund Association.
It’s wrong to do it on a shinkansen.


Must be good to be part of a generation that still actually has a pension.
It’s because elderly people like him are using it all that young people won’t be able to have pensions in the future.
What a greedy man.


The Pensions Service has its issues with security and so on, but I don’t think that these are problems that can be solved overnight.


Wasn’t there some other way?
This was so selfish, so simple.
It doesn’t seem like something a 71 year old should be doing at all.
I just feel so truly sorry for the people who got caught up in all this.


Umm, he should have thought about why his pension amount was so low in the first place…


Yeah, yeah.
I’m around 40, but it’s for certain that I’ll get a lot less on my pension than guys your age.
But still, there are people who are in their twenties now who might not get anything at all.
What’s more, that’s even if they are steadily paying their pensions insurance!
Seriously, why are the elderly generation so selfish, I wonder?
In particular the baby boomer generation have a seriously bad attitude — I always used to think that when I was working in a convenience store a while back. They just say whatever they want. Those who were from the generation above the baby boomers weren’t as horrible as all that, though.


This was reported on TV, but he paid in his pension for over 35 years, and was apparently getting 200,000 yen [approx. $1624] or so a month. Why did he think that was too little? If it’s just a man living alone in his later years, then I think that’s sufficient.


To be unhappy with your pension at 71…
I suppose it’s because he didn’t pay much into it that he didn’t have much!
He probably had a period where if he was changing jobs all the time he didn’t even pay in at all.
He really was a selfish man.


This had nothing to do with the people who got injured because of him!!!


There have been reports that he was getting 240,000 yen per month in pension, but I wonder if they are true or not? And if he really was complaining about that amount then he must have been looking for a fight with the generation that are currently working.


The pensions that the elderly get right now, seriously, it’s such a high amount it’s like they’re almost getting too much!
Young people today will get virtually nothing, no matter how much they pay in.


Isn’t it illegal to sell fuel in those plastic containers?
The gas station that sold it to him are also in the wrong.

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  • lonetrey / Dan

    $1600 a month? Honestly, that seems like a bit low to me. But I don’t think I can really know what the Japanese cost of living really is.

    Also, still a bad idea to suicide on a bullet train. Seriously.

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    Again, why burning? This doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you do for such a reason. Last burning suicides were for some political issue. Aren’t the suicides that are caused be depression take place in that Forest of Death? Or whatever they call that place where people fish out skeletons every month or so?

  • JustFuckOff

    Japan has crazy people.

    • fr hy

      that rite, why can’t they just sit and cry like this greek dude:

      Thessaloniki (Greece) (AFP) –
      Retiree Giorgos Chatzifotiadis had queued up at three banks in Greece’s
      second city of Thessaloniki on Friday in the hope of withdrawing a
      pension on behalf of his wife, but all in vain.

      Related Stories

      Greek pensioners besiege banks to grab cash AFP

      Split Greece teeters on the brink with referendum AFP

      Tsipras defiant as banks shut, markets rocked Associated Press

      Greece proceeds with vote plan as creditors rebuff overture Associated Press

      Eight days in the Greek debt crisis AFP

      When he was told at the fourth that he could not withdraw his 120 euros ($133), it was all too much and he collapsed in tears.

      The 77-year-old told AFP that he had broken down because he “cannot stand to see my country in this distress”.

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