November 29th, 2010
10:08 AM ET

Japan's Suicide Epidemic

An average of 30,000 Japanese people take their own lives every year. Today, News Stream examines the role the internet is playing in this challenging national issue.

While web discussion boards have attracted their share of criticism for 'promoting' suicide online, another phenomenon has emerged that is more shocking still – live suicide streaming. A recent case in Japan has made international headlines, and today's edition of News Stream looks at the webcast that drew an audience of more than 4000.

We also examine the hidden side of the country's suicide epidemic – a remote forest in the shadow of Mount Fuji where up to one hundred people go each year to take their own lives. The sign above is one of a number in the Aokigahara woodlands that ask troubled individuals to consider the effects of their actions.

You can read more about Japan's 'suicide forest' on CNN.com. And click here to see the work of New York company VBS.TV – a sobering examination of the chosen final destination for scores of troubled souls.

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  1. Andrew Grimes JFP, JSCCP

    I would also like to suggest that as many Japanese people have very high reading skills in English that any articles dealing with mental health issues in Japan could usefully provide contact details for hotlines and support services for people who are depressed and feeling suicidal.

    Some useful telephone numbers and links for residents of Tokyo and Japan who speak Japanese and/or English and are feeling depressed or suicidal and need to get in touch with a mental health professional qualified in Japan:

    Inochi no Denwa (Lifeline Telephone Service):
    Japan: 0120-738-556
    Tokyo: 3264 4343

    If you believe that someone may be about to attempt suicide you should call the Japanese police:

    Emergency contact numbers:
    Both the police and fire/medical assistance are available 24 hours a day.
    110 is the number to the Police Headquarter Command Post, and 119 is to the Fire Department Command and Control Center. They will take your call, and arrange a police car, fire engine, or ambulance in case of emergency.
    You can dial 110 and 119 for free. Even from a public phone, you do not need a phone card or money. Hope this may be of some help to you.

    All the best,

    Andrew Grimes

    Tokyo Counseling Services

    December 2, 2010 at 1:53 am | Reply
  2. iarafoschino

    Maybe the Japanese Government should invest money on mental health . This high suicide rates in Japan is well known for years. It is time for this number drop, Japan is a well develop country, I wonder why these numbers are so high..It might be something in the culture that feed that idea of suicide.. Is it because in Japanese culture the perfectionism is important? I don't know, I am just guessing..Anyhow I just think it is time for the people in Japan do something about those high rates. Japan is a wonderful country.

    December 6, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Reply
    • Jeannette

      I have never understood the Left's haretd of firearms.I don't mind registration. I love the idea of a proficiency/safety test before being allowed to own a firearm (heck, the NRA can run the program!). I particularly approve of making people 100% responsible for the misuse of their firearms. And I am 200% behind mandatory sentencing for firearm related crimes.To me, it is obvious that making firearms illegal doesn't much faze criminals. Unless the goal is to take away ALL firearms, no matter what, everywhere. Until you do that, the only result of such laws will be criminals with firearms and citizens without.But saying that it will make the world safer to take away firearms...well, sure. But why stop *there* in particular? Let's make everyone travel by mass transit. Let's truly make alcohol illegal. Car accidents and alcohol-related deaths tote up to what number, per year? Much more than firearms.The list of endless...and it is all predicated that Government, not the individual, knows best.Personally, I think the Left hates firearms because they hate individualism. Just my belief, of course. But a government that doesn't trust its own citizens to have the ability to defend itself....well, that isn't much of a government.The evil within our souls is always there-it doesn't flow out of a firearm or a knife or a baseball bat. It seems that we are blaming the weapon, instead of who wields the weapon.Again, just my opinion. The Leftists don't like my opinions for obvious reasons, the Rightists don't think I go far enough, and the Libertarians think I go too far. Oh well."Eric Blair"

      September 8, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply
  3. baljit singh

    it shows that without peace inside one cannot tackle stress .U might be v rich/educated etc. but without inner peace u always feel some vacuum inside you . Inner peace comes only by attaching your self with one & only one GOD.Meditate on thy's name its not easy,in fact the most difficult task in the world, to bring mind away from wandering & focus on just thy's name .Best part is that it's totally free don't have to go to any one or any particular place you can simply do it sitting at home/office/park anywhere any position any time .Intellectuals will not agree but see for your self the end time of top scientists/doctors /professionals who seek refuge in so called bliss with the help of drugs/alcohol & what not so time to think over but do we have time ????

    December 15, 2010 at 10:38 am | Reply

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