30,000 people committed suicide in Japan in 2004
The number of people who committed suicide in 2004 surpassed 30,000 for the seventh year in a row, although the figure slightly dropped from the previous year, the National Police Agency (NPA) said on Thursday.
Nearly half of those in their 50s killed themselves for "economic reasons," reflecting the hardships middle-aged and elderly people are experiencing due to the sluggish economy.
In 2004, 32,325 people committed suicide, down 2,102, or 6.1 percent, from the previous year, the NPA's survey showed.
Of them, 23,272 were men and 9,053 were women.
By age, those in their 60s or over topped the list with 10,994, followed by those in their 50s at 7,772 and those in the 40s at 5,102.
Of the people who committed suicide in their 50s, 2,864 left suicide notes.
A total of 1,341 wrote that economic hardships forced them to commit suicide. Of the total number, 14,786 committed suicide because of health problems. The number of suicides reached a record 34,427 in 2003. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, June 2, 2005)