Others have taken their lives by the same method — touted by Web sites as fast and painless — in cars parked in remote mountain areas.
But unfortunately, this is an illusion.” Suicide epidemic The problem is by no means confined to the young.
In 2001, there were a reported 31,042 suicides in Japan.
In addition, there are 1.5 mobile phones for every person in Japan, so trains, shopping malls and schools are beeping with calls, or humming with quiet “instant messaging.” While there is companionship to be found electronically, the online world has its perils.
The inability to express themselves or rebel has fueled the euphoria that Japanese young people feel when they log on and talk to strangers, says Mitsuyo Ohira, a lawyer who wrote the best-selling book “And So Can You” about survival of her own suicide attempts as a teen. many such youngsters feel they can open up to strangers because everyone is ‘faceless,’ so to speak,” she said, speaking with the daily Asahi Shimbun about the recent suicides.
In a macabre sign of the times, a task force considered ways to redesign buildings to prevent people from jumping to their deaths.
Train stations began installing “suicide mirrors” and barriers to prevent people from leaping onto the tracks.It also gave money to bolster Saito’s fledgling suicide prevention hotline, Federation of Inochi No Denwa, or Lifeline, which Saito had been running on a shoestring since 1971.The service provided a key feature — anonymity — in a country where the shame of mental health problems runs extremely deep. Lifeline now has 8,000 trained counselors at 50 call centers across the nation open 24-hours a day.By some estimates, about 1.2 million young people or about 1 percent of the total have slipped into this state of self-imposed isolation, cutting off contact with the outside, and barely communicating with those around them.As one recovered hikikomori sufferer described the condition in an interview with a Japanese paper, she became much like a “family pet” in the household who did little more than eat and sleep.“The way they bill it is, ‘If you’re going to do it, don’t hurt yourself — do it right’,” says Wired Safety director of security, who goes only by the pseudonym Gambler.