Aokigahara Forest Suicides Story on CNN

March 20, 2009

I’ll embed the video here. The suicide problem is way too big here and growing. The only issue I’d take with the narration is the idea that suicide is still seen as an “honorable” way out to many people. I think the “honor” of suicide is the furthest thing from the minds of people who are killing themselves over debt. The “honorable” thing from a Japanese perspective would be to pay off the debt and fight the good fight.

Suicide is an easy and convenient way out for people here… and the debt is not magically erased when it happens either. In fact, if someone jumps in front of a train or commits suicide in some other way that inconveniences people or costs money, the family will be forced to pay compensation to the rail company or others who suffered financially from the suicide.

To say that suicide is not the answer if you’re thinking of your family’s best interest in Japan is an understatement. Suicide makes more problems for the family and society as a whole. The only people suicide absolves from debt are the suicides themselves. The debt and resulting cost of the suicide all transfers straight to the family left behind.

There are lots of places people can go to get help and counseling about their debts in Japan. Maybe the first stop should be the local ward office.

Here’s the video from CNN… which just made me want to go visit Mount Fuji again!

{ 1 comment }

1 Dave March 26, 2009 at 5:36 am

I’ve talked about the suicide issue a few times before on my site. I think this is the 10th year in a row that there have been over 30,000 suicides in Japan – top of all developed countries I believe. You’re right that people see it as an honourable way out, which goes back to the samurai and how seppuku would be a fitting punishment for mistakes. But people need to start taking responsibility for their actions and not thinking that leaving all their debts and problems to their family is a good idea.