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TOKYO (AP) — At least four people killed themselves Friday by inhaling fumes from a detergent mixed with other chemicals amid a wave of similar suicides that has reportedly claimed about 50 lives this month in Japan.
Authorities are alarmed by the sudden rise in such incidents — an average of two a day were reported in April — because the chemicals are easy to get and the fumes could spread to affect bystanders or rescuers.
The government has been battling to contain the country's alarmingly high suicide rate. The government said 32,155 people killed themselves in 2006. Japan has a population of 128 million.
"Suicides using hydrogen sulfide have surged in April," said Eri Okuda, a spokeswoman for the country's Fire and Disaster Management Agency. "It's so easy to obtain the ingredients and anyone can use them."
Fire Department spokesman Toshiyuki Miyake said the trend "initially started from Internet sites, where people exchanged information about how to do it."
"We haven't found an effective way to prevent it," he said.
The Kyodo News agency said its tally of such deaths reached at least 49 in April — after a monthly average of 3-4 earlier this year. No police figures were available.
Originally posted by dgtempe
Do we know if these are Buddhists? or just random people?
Originally posted by smokingmonkey
I think we should ban all detergents. We have to start a massive law enforcement campaign to control detergents before a black market develops. Zero tolerance policies should be implemented by all responsible public agencies. We need this now before subjects, I mean citizens, in the United States catch on and start killing themselves with these chemicals. We must do this for the children.