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Suicides cost Japan economy $32bn

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posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 12:00 AM

Suicides cost Japan economy $32bn

The figures refer to lost incomes and the cost of treatment. It is the first time Japan has released such figures.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 12:00 AM
This story makes my stomach turn.

When I first clicked to read it I thought it would be about the cost associated with people killing themselves...given that is the title.

It isn't

This story is about the lost income of the people who killed themselves and the impact those lost wages have on the economy.

The study showed that those who took their lives last year - 26,500 people in 2009 - when they were aged 15 to 69 would have earned 1.9tn yen had they worked until retirement.

"We hope this study triggers stronger prevention measures."

This is by far one of the most callous reports I have ever read. The article mentions that there have been roughly 360 000 suicides in Japan over the last 12 years.

Are they concerned over the mental condition of the people?


Are the concerned that society has a stigma over mental illness?

Not really.

What they are concerned with is that the economy will not benefit from the wages earned over what would have been the rest of these peoples lives. There will be no taxes collected, no programs paid into.

Regardless of a person's beliefs on suicide, to have red flags raised over lost earnings instead of over the fact that 30 000 + people a year are killing themselves, and have been for the last 12 years makes a statement about our world's priorities that I find profoundly disturbing.
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 8-9-2010 by [davinci]]

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 01:40 AM
Japan has the highest suicide rate in the world...Japanese society has long been providing unique materials for social studies on suicide. First, this may be traditionally because of our purportedly peculiar forms of committing suicide to the eyes of western observers, such as hara-kiri and shinjyuu. Hara-kiri was a social class bound privilege given only to samurai (warriors) in order to protect them from being killed by executioners. Shinjyuu, the form of suicide committed among intimate persons, was more usual for commoners. It has been largely pointed out that a Japanese suicidal act is unique because it has often been accompanied by meanings of valiance and vindication. Suicide has a longstanding cultural association with saving one's and/or the family's fame.

Because we are in a "nation of suicide", the issue of suicide has been periodically brought out to our attention by the mass media in the periods without other newsworthy topics. In the middle of 1980's, we had a vast coverage of Ijime (being bullied) suicide among school age children. Other times, we observed young suicide followers after the massive media coverage on particular suicidal death of charismatic figures. Every time the media reports the novel incident with detailed follow-up information, some people imitate it. It is as if the reasons and methods of suicide were given by the media discourse of the times.

Don't you just love the media?

[edit on 8-9-2010 by Serizawa]

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 01:45 AM

Originally posted by Serizawa
Japan has the highest suicide rate in the world...

Hello. Sorry, but this is not true (although many think it is).

See, for example:

If you don't trust Wiki, other official stats tell a similar story.

Japan is usually high up on the list, but in recent memory, the list leader has almost always been a Slavic or ex-Soviet country, year after year.


Silent Thunder

[edit on 9/8/10 by silent thunder]

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 01:47 AM
link's a fairly ridiculous number of suicides...I think it's probably because their population is so dense, meaning a lot of people packed in a small area. I believe this is a major factor for many reasons. I believe when you cut your self off to nature, in lived in highly populated areas where you are constantly surrounded by all things man made, building, houses, roads etc. If you live in an area where very little nature remains, I think people lose touch with an important part of themselves.

I think the Avatar movie showed us a great example of this. Audiences experience 'Avatar' blues. A lot of people, after seeing that movie, started killing themselves. I think it's a contrast between our planet, and the planet shown in Avatar, this contrast disturbs people, it really points out just how much we have lost touch with our true selves and our true nature, and we have replaced it all with superficial, glossy, materialistic crap.

Our needs and wants have become diluted, our focus on all things petty and materialistic. There is no end to our greed, and there is no line we aren't willing to cross to exercise our power over nature. Because of this, we destroy vasts amounts of the natural life on this planet each day. When you strip away the beauty of nature and replace it with artificial objects, and you pack a lot people working like rats each day, into these cities and towns, life might start to lose some meaning. It creates a sense of loss of self-identity.

It creates an environment where everyone and everything around you seems to be meaningless, superficial, lies. The substance and true essence of life is sucked away. Some people can deal with this apparent reality better than others, some people just deny it exists all together, and they fully embrace the gossip, parties, fashion, cars, etc. They truly think life is wonderful, they get so caught up in the here and now, the physicalities, the ego, the ignorance. They become a robot, a mindless , dumbed down droid, a "sheeple".

When faced with this reality, the horror of it slowly eats away at them over time as they learn to observe it and become more and more aware of it. You can tell when a person is like this, you can see it in their eyes. That's my take on it anyway...

[edit on 8/9/10 by CHA0S]

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 01:48 AM
OK. Reading the BBC article, I can understand how you reach the conclusion that the focus of the report and of talk in Japan is on the lost wages and productivity. That is perhaps the only quantity data available in the report (other than the number of suicides themselves) and so it is the easiest to take away from the report.
However, what is being regularly discussed on TV and in the papers is the despair that leads to suicides and how other people can try to prevent someone they know from committing suicide. Even in the article itself, it states that the government feels the number of suicides indicates the economic and emotional suffering of the people. The economic suffering is due to the poor economy and the increasing reliance of companies on temporary staff instead of regular employees, which leads to a feeling of instability. The emotional suffering is possibly due to the characteristic pride and solitariness of the Japanese, where "keeping your honor" is vitally important (yes, I purposely chose the word "vitally") and burdening someone else with your troubles is often frowned upon. The public messages that they are starting to show on TV attempt to get people to open up, showing a variety of people offering a helping hand and saying "Let us help." I hope the campaign works.
Then maybe they can start on getting people to re-evaluate the value of life overall, as there is a video-game-like mentality in which people are attacked for often ridiculous reasons. (One recent murder was because the parents canceled the boy's internet account because he was playing online too much.)
Once again, the main focus of the report was on the incredibly sad number of suicides, not on the lost wages, and I think BBC could have done a better job of reporting on it.

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 01:49 AM

Originally posted by [davinci]

This story makes my stomach turn.

Mine, too.

This is called selective reporting. It is used to keep a fixed image or stereotype in mind, in this case that the filthy japs are just a bunch of suicidal, stoic machines that only care about money.

They could have mentioned that this report was drawn up as part of a much larger initiative to tackle mental health issues in Japan, the first and largest in many years (possibly ever). They could have mentioned that these figures were drawn up to illustrate the gravity of the cumulative loss (shock value, if you will) to get the relevant ministries to get on board with the program.They could have mentioned that this initiative is being hailed as a major turning point in government policy - and hopefully in the mindset of the public - where mental health is concerned.

But they didn't.

I wonder why that is?

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 01:50 AM
reply to post by Serizawa

I am horrified that Japan has such a high suicide rate, and I am so sorry.

I believe it is because Japan places unreasonable expectations upon young people.

People are more important than qualifications.

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 01:53 AM
reply to post by [davinci]

I agree.

What a cold and sick attitude by Japan to its desperate people who killed themselves - simply loss of income.

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 02:23 AM
Suicide is in many cultures a taboo for a wide range of reasons; I am not condemning or judging the people who for thier own reasons feel that is thier best/only option. Regardless of what my opinions may be on the matter it is ultimately the decision of the individual.

Suicide is treated differently in Japanese culture; in some cases it represents nobility and honor, personal responsibility over having disgraced the family (or company) and, most famously (or infamously) the ultimate sacrifice for the protection of the homeland.

This story seems like a shame peice, targetted at the populace. Make people think that thier actions are causing great harm to Japan; Guilt people into not killing themselves.

It is the cold calculation, the simple distillation of a person to nothing more than figures on a balence sheet that I find disturbing.

To go on a tangent; If ever we needed more evidence of our being slaves, this article clearly provides it. The mental state of a people only matters when thier emotional well-being starts to impact revenues.

reply to post by Serizawa

That's what I mean by "shame story".

The very emotions that are driving people to this end are being played against them.

I hate to admit it, but for Japanese culture that may be the best approach. Make the suicide a dishonor bourne by the family because of the selfishness over the decision to put one's self before the good of all.

reply to post by CHA0S

You and I could talk for hours about that outlook: I could not agree with you more.

As a personal example, this past Sunday I helped a friend chunk up some wood at his camp. I actually noticed how much more relaxed and at peace I was just being out in the woods. It caught me off guard though because honestly I'm pretty relaxed.

It wasn't a break from the rat race or a reprieve from the concrete was 2 hours of physical labour and a hike along the property line...A quick trip to get things down then back into the city, not an overnight or weekender.

Even still, the impact was pronounced.

reply to post by vox2442


This report gives little mention to the families being affected, just productivity.

The impetus for change is not based on values, only dollars.

[edit on 8-9-2010 by [davinci]]

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 03:43 AM
reply to post by Serizawa

I tried to post but nothing.

So, what I want to say is you are an enlightener and there is no need to feel depressed.


posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 09:31 AM

Originally posted by [davinci]


This report gives little mention to the families being affected, just productivity.

The impetus for change is not based on values, only dollars.

Not quite what I meant.

The impetus for change is absolutely NOT based on dollars. This particular press release represents a minute part of what the current government is doing, and is planning to do. It represents one small part of their public awareness initiative, which in itself is a relatively small part of their overall plan.

Reading the BBC, one would never know that. The impression this story leaves:

What a cold and sick attitude by Japan to its desperate people who killed themselves - simply loss of income. (catwhoknows)

...when that isn't even remotely close to the truth.

posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 10:17 AM
This is how it is for everyone on here and their respective countries. You think the gov. wants to improve health care because they want us to live longer, for ourselves? NO! It's so we can live long enough to buy more, spend more, pay more taxes. We're just a number to them, and they want as much money from us numbers as they can get.


posted on Sep, 8 2010 @ 11:53 AM
reply to post by silent thunder

In 2007 Japan ranked top in the female category and behind only the Russian Federation for males, according to suicide rates announced by the WHO. Suicide rates are calculated by the number of suicides divided by population multiplied by 100,000. You must remember that for ever successful suicide, there almost 10 failed attempts.

The reasons behind the suicides is mental health issues, unemployment, quality of life and relationships.

edit on by Serizawa because: spelling

posted on Oct, 29 2010 @ 02:23 PM
Ugh... there seem to be a lot of misunderstandings about Japan these days, and I don't blame you guys for it because Japan is a very isolated and complicated country. I guarantee you, what the outside world hears about Japan through the media is not enough to understand what is actually going on in the country.

I have family that lives in Japan, and I have friends who live in Japan, and I visit Japan every year so I have a decent idea of what is going on, and why it has suicide rates up the way it is. Contrary to some of your beliefs suicide is not viewed as a noble or honorable act; Japanese people has been westernized enough to believe that suicide is a shameful act, parallel to quitting, giving up, showing weakness, all of which are intensely looked down on in Japan.

One of the big differences between Japan and America is the school system. The extent to which school plays a part in a Japanese student's life is frightening to say the least. I went to school in Japan over the summer in 2nd and 4th grade, and we had to go to school Monday-Friday and on every other Saturday up until the end of July... so summer vacation is only about a month long. I stayed at my cousins house with my aunt and uncle, and they wouldn't let us play outside after 5 PM because after that time was study time until we went to sleep. In class, in both 2nd and 4th grade, I remember the teacher would hit students who were lazy or disruptive. Once a week we would also clean the floor of the classroom and the hallways. Even at this young age, kids were being strictly disciplined. Remember, this is just elementary school...

When students get to middle school, they typically go to a public school in the morning and early afternoon, and then go to a cram school at night, and they get homework from both schools. The purpose of the cram school is to prepare for the high school entrance exam, which is just as big a deal and possibly harder than the SATs. High school in Japan is a huge deal, kids have to get into a good high school in order to get into a good college so they can get a good job in an intensely competetive job market. Most kids go to private high schools, and have to take the train to get to their high school. My friend is a senior in high school and he sleeps about 5 hours a night because of school and homework, and he also has to ride the train for an hour to get to his high school. He has to wake up around 5 AM to get to school on time.

So as you can see, there is almost no leisure time for the Japanese student. Even activities that are meant to be fun are twisted and used to discipline kids. My friend was in orchestra and was by far the best at violin, but in his orchestra they would practice the same song over and over for an entire semester, a song he could play by sight. So he questioned the teacher about playing such an easy song over and over, and he got kicked out.

It seems like a student's value is based only on his or her grades. It is easy for us to look at Japan and comment on how wrong it is for kids to be worked so hard, but kids in Japan don't have the perspective we do because they are born into this system and raised by this system, and accept this system. And it is a system that has not changed for decades because there is no political authority in Japan powerful enough to push for change. Born into this kind of system, if someone feels like he is not good enough to succeed in this system, or is overwhelmed by stress, he/she might commit suicide because it seems like the only way out. Japan wants to have the number one economy in the world, and as this article states, it will be rutheless towards its own people in achieving that goal.
edit on 29-10-2010 by Wang Tang because: don't worry about it

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