Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Japan's Black Days

I’m a search light soul they say
But I can’t see it in the night
I’m only faking when I get it right
Cause I fell on black days
How would I know
That this could be my fate?

Japan takes action on suicides:
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan has compiled a plan to cut the annual number of suicides by roughly 8,000 over the next 10 years in a bid to bring down one of the worst suicide rates among industrialised nations.

Japan saw a surge in the number of suicides in 1998 amid economic woes stemming from high-profile bankruptcies in the financial industry the year before and the annual number of suicides has exceeded 30,000 every year since then.

Last year, there were 32,325 suicides in Japan, or 25.3 per 100,000 people, according to government data. Males accounted for over two-thirds of the total and health problems were the most common motivation, followed by economic woes.

This is news to me. In my own conversations with the Japanese, there were indications that stress, particularly related to exams or school, was a chief cause of suicides.
No religious prohibition exists against suicide in Japan and it has long been seen as a way to escape failure or save loved ones from embarrassment.

Seppuku is the ancient way of redeeming oneself and family from shame and embarrassment...and apparently, its use is not limited to the warrior caste. With a shrinking population and an aversion to immigration, Japan has to start dealing with this demographic time bomb.

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