Suicide pacts arranged over the internet have been occurring ever since the late 20th century and have been reported in a number of countries around
the globe. Japan has been especially hard hit with nearly 150 people dying in such pacts in the last couple of years. Since 1998, annual suicides in
Japan have been in excess of 30,000. Japan has the highest suicide rate in the world, which seems to be the result of high unemployment.
Nine people in two groups were found asphyxiated in sealed cars, apparently the latest cases of group suicides that have surged in Japan, police said
Friday. Their deaths were the latest in a rash of group suicides in Japan, particularly those set up between strangers over the Internet.
A record 91 people died in 34 Internet-linked suicide cases last year, up from 55 people in 19 cases in 2004, the National Police Agency reported last
month. The number of Internet suicide pacts has almost tripled from 2003, when the agency started keeping records.
Suicide pacts have been made over the Internet since at least the late 1990s, and have been reported everywhere from Guam to the Netherlands. But
especially large numbers have occurred in Japan, where suicide rates are among the world's highest. More than 32,000 Japanese took their own lives in
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"Suicide clubs" have been proliferating on the interent, a phenomenon of which I have be completely unaware. Reportedly, there are message boards
that consist of people requesting others to join them in suicide, while listing the methods they intend to employ.
In Japan, where there are no religious prohibitions or laws aimed at suicide pacts, it has always been a part of the culture, according to experts,
and that before the internet, people have sought out those who wished to do likewise by mail and by phone.
These suicide conspiracies are certainly a disturbing trend, especially when there are so many impressionable minds on the internet at times in their
lives when "sturm and drang" are both normal and common and sites that provide peer support for such actions are extremely dangerous.
There is help available on the internet for those who wish to seek it. Kidshelp Online
, based in
Texas, is but one site that provides resources to help those who feel that death is the only way out of their problems.
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[edit on 2006/3/10 by GradyPhilpott]