A total of nine young individuals were found dead in apparent suicides in the Tokyo area. Seven young people were found dead in a van outside of the
city and two young women were found in a car outside of a temple. All of the deaths seemed to be suicides, raising alarms about suicide pacts made on
the internet. Officials say suicide pacts have been commonly made over the Internet since at least the late 1990s, not only in Japan which has the
highest number of internet related suicides, but in countries around the world.
The cases - involving young people in their teens and 20s - raised alarm over suicide agreements, many of which are made by people who meet over the
Internet. They have claimed dozens of lives and shocked Japan over the past several years.
Tuesday"s suicide of four young men and three women in the van would be the largest group suicide yet, the National Police Agency said.
Authorities found the rented van in a deserted mountain lot after a friend of one of the seven who had received an e-mail hinting at suicide called
the police, but officers failed to reach it in time, a police spokesman in Saitama prefecture, just outside Tokyo, said on condition of anonymity.
The van windows were sealed with vinyl tape from the inside and the seven were found slumped over in their seats, the spokesman said. A woman sat in
the driver"s seat, while the six others sat in two rows behind her.
Investigators found four charcoal stoves in the car that they believe the group used to poison themselves. No external wounds or signs of a struggle
The Saitama police said they believed the seven died of carbon monoxide poisoning, and ordered autopsies.
In a separate incident, two women were found dead in a car parked outside an isolated temple in Yokosuka, about 60 miles to the southeast, a Kanagawa
prefecture police spokesman said. They were in the car"s back seat, with two charcoal stoves on the floor. The car windows were sealed with a black
Police said it was not immediately known whether the two cases were related. They were still trying to determine the identities of the men and women.
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I am actually shocked by this news, I had no idea this was happening at all. Life can throw us many curves and be quite difficult at times, but it
always gets better. While suicide is a very controversial subject and opinions vary greatly, I find it to be quite unfortunate and sad, that this
wonderful portal to the world called the internet is also a contributing tool. But can the internet really be blamed? I do not think so. The
internet has been proven to be a very useful tool in this modern world, but there are always individuals who use this tool to spread the wrong type of
message, whether it be suicides, pornography or fraud, it is the fault of the individuals using the tool, not the tool itself.