Children in Japan are more likely to kill themselves today (September 1st), than on any other day of the year.
A government study has linked the spike in suicide figures with the fact it is the day when the majority of Japanese pupils return to school after their summer holidays.
A total of 101 under-18s in Japan have killed themselves on this day since 1972.
The report investigated over 18,000 child suicides from 1972 to 2013. The fourth worst day for child suicides is the following day on September 2nd and the fifth, August 31st – one day before school re-opens. Throughout the summer months, the amount of deaths was significantly lower.
Previous government studies have signalled that among high school students (ages 15 to 18), academic problems and worrying about future careers contributed to suicidal tendencies, as did depression and anxiety.
One previous study recorded in 2005 that 28.2% children who killed themselves wrote of problems at school in their suicide note. However, police said school problems were attributable to 220 out of 315 child deaths, regardless of a suicide note.
Following the publication of the report, the Japan Times quoted Keiko Okuchi, an executive of a non-profit organisation which supports children. She said that those children who do kill themselves often do so because of issues at school.
She said: “I want adults to listen to what the child has to say and think [things] through together instead of forcing their opinion on him or her.”
The country's cabinet office noted that suicidal children between the ages of 10 and 15 are less likely to show intention or warning signs.
Japan's suicide rate in general is 60 per cent higher than the international average, with an annual figure of around 30,000 deaths. More than 70 Japanese people kill themselves every day and it is the leading cause of death among men between the ages of 20 and 44.
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