This study investigates the abrupt increase in the number of suicides in Japan in 1998 and the subsequent persistence of suicide thereafter; it does so by undertaking data decompositions in terms of demographic factors, reasons for suicide, employment status, and access to the means of committing suicide. The decomposition results regarding the growth in the Japanese suicide rate from 1997 to 1998 show that a large proportion of the abrupt increase in the number of suicides can be attributed to middle-aged men with financial problems, and that the self-employed subset of the population contributed significantly to growth in the suicide rate. Meanwhile, persistently high suicide rates since 1998 can be largely attributed to the younger generation (i.e., those aged 20–39). In accordance with the decomposition results, prefecture-level panel data regression established a correlation between suicide and economic hardship. In particular, the unemployment rate and the individual bankruptcy rate were found to be positively associated with the suicide rates of all males, males aged 20–39, and males aged 40–59, while individual bankruptcy was found to affect middle-aged males more than younger males.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences(all)