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Japan records 16% suicide rise in 4months

By News Desk

Suicide rates in Japan have jumped in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic by 16 percent after reducing drastically in the first wave when the government offered handouts to citizens for sensitization.

Of the most involved in suicide between July-October 2020 in the country were women and children, a stark reversal of the February-June decline of 14 percent.

The statistics were revealed in the study conducted by researchers at Hong Kong University and Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology which was published yesterday on the institutions’ website.

In the journal published, the authors stated that the earlier decline in suicides was affected by such factors as government subsidies, reduced working hours and school closure, the study found.

But the decline reversed – with the suicide rate jumping 37 per cent for women, about five times the increase among men, even after the prolonged pandemic hurt industries where women predominate, increasing the burden on working mothers, while domestic violence increased, the report said.

“Unlike normal economic circumstances, this pandemic disproportionately affects the psychological health of children, adolescents and females (especially housewives)”, it added.

The study, based on health ministry data from November 2016 to October 2020, found the child suicide rate spiked 49 percent in the second wave, corresponding to the period after a nationwide school closure.

Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, this month issued a COVID-19 state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures in a bid to stem the resurgence. He expanded it this week to seven more prefectures, including Osaka and Kyoto.

The administrative and regulatory reform minister, Taro Kono, told newsmen that while the government would consider extending the state of emergency, it “cannot kill the economy.”

“People worry about COVID-19. But a lot of people have also committed suicide because they have lost their jobs, they have lost their income and couldn’t see the hope. We need to strike the balance between managing COVID-19 and managing the economy”, he said.

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