White Paper: Suicides in Japan Rose to 21,881 in 2022; Increases Seen Among Both Men and Women

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
An official distributes leaflets calling for the prevention of suicides in Tokushima in May 2022.

The number of people who committed suicide in 2022 was 21,881, up 874 from the previous year, according to an outline of the 2023 edition of the government’s white paper about measures to prevent suicide.

Of them, males numbered 14,746, marking the first rise in 13 years, while females numbered 7,135, the third consecutive year of increase.

A total of 11,775 people were not working, those with jobs numbered 8,576, and 1,063 students took their own lives.

Regarding the reason for committing suicide, the largest number of them, at 12,774, killed themselves because of health problems, followed by 4,775 due to domestic problems and 4,697 due to economic or living hardships.

The white paper for 2022 utilized new types of data about suicide, describing more detailed factors such as occupations and motives, than data used before. The categories for occupations increased from 51 to 94, and those of causes or motives increased from 52 to 75.

“By utilizing more detailed data to better effect, we expect the prevention measures to have increased efficiency,” said a government official in charge of the white paper.

The white paper noted that in the wake of a suicide committed by a male entertainer in May last year, the number of suicides tended to rise in a two- to three-week period since his death was reported by the media.

The white paper posits that a suicide by a famous person may prompt a chain of suicides among the public and emphasizes the need to take measures for such cases.

The Cabinet will approve the white paper by the end of this month at the earliest.