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Japan Subculture Research Center

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Suicides Using Toxic Fumes Soar in Japan

In the first chapters of Hanayagi Genshu’s book Nigetara Akan!, she outlines the problem of suicide in Japan shockingly clearly — one person every fifteen minutes dies by their own hand in Japan. This article? Just more proof of the problem.

From the New York Time Website


October 31, 2008 TOKYO (AP) — More than 870 people have killed themselves in Japan by inhaling toxic fumes from household chemicals this year, 30 times more than the total for all of last year, the government said Friday.

Japan has long battled a high suicide rate, and is now in the grip of a wave of deaths from mixing commonly available household products to form poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas. The gas can form noxious clouds that also affect those who happen to be nearby, often triggering mass evacuations.

The number of toxic fume suicides jumped to 876 from January to September compared to 29 last year, the Cabinet Office said.

Alarmed by the surge, police have launched a crackdown on popular Internet sites that give instructions on how to commit suicide using the method.

Toxic fume suicides are the latest in a series of suicide fads in Japan. Until this year, many suicide cases involved people who found each other on the Internet and committed suicide together, often by sealing themselves in a car and lighting a charcoal-burning brazier.

The number of suicides hit 33,093 in 2007, a 2.9 percent increase from the previous year and the second-highest annual tally on record, according to the National Police Agency.

To curb the nation’s high suicide rate, the government has earmarked $220 million for anti-suicide programs to help those with depression and other mental health problems.

Japan has the eighth highest suicide rate in the world, according to the World Health Organization. 

One thought on “Suicides Using Toxic Fumes Soar in Japan”
  1. The cause of this isn’t just depression. If you look deeper, you find that the cause is poverty. but even going that far, you’ve only scratched the surface. what, or who is the culprit behind this? I believe there is a deep corruption in the Japanese government that even the Prime Minister cannot point out because information is so obscure, that any false accusations could easily throw the parliament into utter chaos.

    I love Japan and it’s people as if they were just like my American brothers and sisters. But I will not sit here and watch and hear those I care about starve and go without in the streets. Of course, there are similar issues within my own government. However, I dare not compare our issues with that of Japan’s! it’s comparing night and day.

    Please, if any of the Japanese Government even glimpses at this comment, please, I beg you: Please help your people. I’d give anything. I’d even become a Japanese citizen and help in any way I am able to.

    If not, I will not rest until I’ve brought worldwide attention to the matter. I will rally, I will picket, even if I have to do so wide open on American soil! Please, Help your people! I will scream until I cannot scream anymore. Please, Help your people! I will stand tall until my legs give out. Please, help your people!

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