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True: Japan's October Suicide Rate

Tracy Davenport Tracy Davenport
1st December 2020
True: Japan's October Suicide Rate
As evidenced by Aokigahara, Japan has grappled with high suicide rates for years (Getty Images).

The Claim

Japan had more suicides in October than total deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.

Emerging story

According to social media, Japan is in the middle of a mental health crisis. Users claim that Japan had more suicides reported for the month of October than COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began. 

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation found that Japan has experienced approximately 2100 deaths due to COVID-19 according to the World Health Organization

According to CBSnews.com, Japan’s National Police Agency showed suicides surged to 2,153 in October alone, exceeding the number of deaths from 10 months of COVID-19. Japan has grappled with high suicide rates for a long time, but the overall numbers had been on a downward trend this year, until they reversed course in July.

According to the NewYorkPost.com, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues in Japan due to prolonged lockdowns, isolation from family members, unemployment and other financial concerns, and a lack of school structure.

The rise in suicides has disportionately impacted women. In October, suicides among women in Japan increased almost 83% compared to the same month the previous year. For comparison, male suicides rose almost 22% over the same time period. Elementary and highschool suicides are also up from a year ago according to SCMP.com

Dr. Vivian Pender, President of the American Psychiatric Association, told CBS Sunday Morning that the increase in suicides is not limited to Japan: "We're in the midst of a mental health epidemic right now, and I think it's only gonna get worse." Japan’s suicide numbers are more up to date than many others around the world, which may foreshadow what will be seen when other countries release suicide data for 2020. 

It is true that Japan reported more deaths due to suicide in October than all of their Covid-19 deaths combined. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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