Cracking under the strain: Japan suicide rates jump after disaster

June 23, 2011TOKYO – The Japanese Government has warned of an epidemic of depression and suicide as a result of mental trauma caused by the earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear disaster. The country already has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, but new figures show that the number of deaths has risen almost a fifth compared with a year ago. In Miyagi, the region worst hit by the March 11 tsunami, the figures are especially alarming, with suicides up 39 per cent. A government report is now warning that the stoicism of many victims in the early weeks of the disaster may mask post-traumatic stress disorder. This week a dairy farmer from the town of Soma, in the Fukushima region – near the crippled nuclear plant – was found to have hanged himself after being forced to sell his herd because of a ban on the sale of milk from the area. “It is a characteristic of the Great East Japan Earthquake that, as well as stress caused by large and sudden changes to daily life and the traumatic experience of the earthquake and tsunami, there are feelings of grief and loss resulting from the huge number of people missing and killed,” the Government said in the report. “As well as grief, survivors also experience guilt because, although they tried to escape together, only some were saved. Then there is the shock of identifying bodies, for aid workers as well as victims, resulting in chronic depression or prolonged grief disorder.” The observations appear to be reflected in the new figures, which show an 18 per cent national increase in suicides. In May, 3,281 people killed themselves, 499 more than the same month in 2010. Suicides in Tokyo were up 27 per cent. –The Australian
Book quote: “In the general view of existential socio-catastrophism; life in the social collective begins unraveling as…the effects of natural disasters are amplified through the human populace. The disasters destroy the Earth but they have secondary effects that will ripple through the lives of billions of people who inhabit the planet….the psychological life spectrum moves from hope and security to fear and uncertainty. We will be forced to come to terms with our mortality, both individually and collectively as a species…the human toll will be one of the greatest social burdens for many to bear. The shock of displacement and detachment from the modern world we have been nurtured in, free of global upheaval since World War II, will create innumerable hardships and stresses for many as civilization networks disintegrate.” –The Extinction Protocol, page 579
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23 Responses to Cracking under the strain: Japan suicide rates jump after disaster

  1. Charlotte says:

    This is such sad news from Japan. Then today, another big earthquake and tsunami warning. How much more must they bear? Let us all pray for the Japanese people.


  2. J Guffey says:

    So very sad, although not surprising. When people lose hope, desperation to get out of the situation takes over. Their grief must be overwhelming.

    Yes, we sure do need to pray for them and all the others around the globe that are face to face with heartache, hopelessness, and helplessness almost daily. It is also a time to be counting our blessings if we are still living our “normal” everyday lives.


  3. radiogirl says:

    A sweet heartfelt comment given to the loss and grief of the Japanese people by Charlotte.They reflect my feelings as well,Thank you.God Bless, Radiogirl ….Blessings Alvin for the update…most appreciated.


  4. Shawnta says:

    I knew there were a lot of suicides in Japan, but I had no idea it was this many. This is so very heart breaking. 😦


  5. A_lad says:

    This is tragic…. The main stream news is so silent on these issues.


  6. pam says:

    So very sad – and those that were able to leave, usually left on tourist visas, which meant they have a limited time in the country that they’ve gone to (I have a Japanese family living here who will return next month, only to come back to the US a month later, only to return to Japan a couple of months later for 6 months before they can leave again) –


  7. idiotbox says:

    Save your prayers we are about to become statistics as well in the all to near future.


  8. Kim says:

    Agree Charlotte. Always praying…Always. Its so heartbreaking.


  9. ashuka says:

    there is enough prayers to go around for every one around the world that are suffering. God bless them all. I live in British Columbia and i have had lots of sleepless nights. This is all very disturbing to me and i know i am not alone.


  10. Raven says:

    My heartfelt prayers for these people, may their resolve strengthen, their hearts withstand and their prayers be answered.


  11. Ryan Yamada says:

    Of course it would. It’s extremely heartbreaking to see that… but you all didn’t think that this would happen? It’s tragic. Truly tragic.


  12. Gen says:

    Alvin, a post for you, the NZ Government has offered to buy 5,000 homes in the worst affected areas of Christchurch.

    Keep up the good work. Gen


  13. Tina Marie says:

    Those poor people losing everything and seeing no decent future left to live for. I know it says in the Bible that people who commit suicide will go to hell, but I really hope that’s not true. One can only imagine the desperation and heartbreak they have endured already that would drive them to take their own lives, it would be even sadder to think they were punished after death. My prayers go out to them and to all of us, that we don’t have to experience such things in our lifetime, although I think we will. It is more important than ever to reach out to your neighbors and your community so that if and when we do face these hardships, we won’t be alone with our grief. God Bless all.. I do have a question though, does anyone know why they already have the highest suicide rates in the world? I know they are a very strong people and that statistic really surprised me.


    • J Guffey says:

      Tina Marie – it is truly sad. But on a lighter note, the Bible only condemns those (to Hell) that reject Christ. As far as I have been able to determine, suicide is not an unforgivable sin as many believe.

      Praying many many people turn to Christ. Remember, prayer is a powerful tool God has given.

      God bless you as you continue to seek His will and reach out to others in these troubled times.


      • SC says:

        Great point J Guffey! I attempted suicide when I was 15. I tried to drown myself in the Pacific Ocean. As I as sinking in the ocean, I heard a voice say “is this what you really want?” The voice sounded three times, and each time louder and closer to my right ear. It made me think, and obviously I chose life as I’m here now. This experience taught me that suicide is not really a sin, more of a disappointment to our creator. I think our creator would like to see us here living our lives and contributing to the world. When that doesn’t happen he/she/it? becomes unhappy. Just my opinion based on experience. I have no data to back this up.

        On another note – Alvin, I am LOVING your book! If anyone has not purchased this, you simply must. It is educational and interesting to read. Alvin has a gift of sharing data in a compelling way. Thank you for your talents.


      • I thank God…SC, I’m glad you’re here.

        Grace in Christ,


      • J Guffey says:

        SC – praying God will continue to reveal Himself to you in amazing ways. God’s love and power was very well demonstated when He spoke to you and let you know your life has value. We are all here for a reason.

        I think you would agree, a person has to be in a desperate state of mind with no hope, to resort to suicide. God knows the heart. Glad He spoke so plainly to yours and you are with us today. Great testimony. Thanks for sharing.


    • Marie says:

      I believe, as Kelly said, that Japan’s suicide rate has a lot to do with their culture. My church just recently had a Japanese pastor and an American missionary to Japan, both based in Tokyo, speak on Sunday morning; and the Japanese pastor shared about the high suicide rate, which, previously, I had been unaware of. I forget the exact statistic he gave, but it shocked me—apparently, more Japanese people die every year from suicide than were killed by the earthquake and tsunami. You would think, in a country as wealthy and technologically advanced as Japan, this wouldn’t be the case, but it just goes to show that money and material possessions do not bring happiness. This Japanese pastor and missionary primarily reach out to the younger generation, where the highest rate of suicides occur. So, yes, definitely keep the Japanese people in your prayers…pray that instead of turning to suicide, more will turn to Christ.


  14. Kelly says:

    I believe the high suicide rate in Japan, pre-Fukushima, is due to the Japanese culture. I am not being negative, but alluding to the behavioral expectations in their culture. Generally stoic; pushed to overachievement by societal and familial pressure.

    This should be a wake up call actually for all of us to be more aware and pay attention to those around us. There are so many negative things happening today that affect so many. The geologic and climate changes that are taking place, have and will continue to wreck havoc with peoples lives. The global financial meltdown is affecting hundreds of millions of people. Foreclosures, loss of homes through flooding, slides and earthquakes. Unemployment.

    All of these things are high stress factors and many they are cumulatively trying to cope with a horrendous amount of stress and personal loss. As people wake up and realize that things are not going to improve any time soon………… is easy for them to become severely depressed and see little hope for the future.

    Open your eyes people. There will be someone near to you that needs a little TLC.


  15. Pia says:

    I have a missionary / street preacher friend, Bobby Chance, who just arrived in Japan with a team of people
    (, and is sharing the love of Jesus to Shinjuku (Tokyo) right now and will travel to Fukushima and Sendai shortly. Please pray for them as they minister to these people who have been so devastated by this disaster.

    Psalms 147: 3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

    Psalms 107:20 He sent forth His word and healed them, he rescued them from the grave.

    Isaiah 61:3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
    the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.


    • J Guffey says:

      Wonderful news Pia. Hopefully they will be open to the Lord through this ministry. I will be praying that many will be greatly blessed. God bless.


  16. Luca says:

    So true Kelly. In the past I read so many articles about Japan suicide pacts and the articles still disturb me because of these young kids coming together and killing themselves. Spread the love around because I have seen people become highly depressed with what’s happening around the world that is affecting them. I mean I also know people who still don’t give a crap about whats happening. Drugs, booze, and sex filll their world to numb it the people close to me behave this way. My family. But I am praying for the lost and broken. I pray they know they are loved deeply

    Blessings in Christ


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