Friday, April 25, 2008

Suicide in Japan

CNN published an intriguing and depressing story today about a teen suicide in Japan.

It seems that a popular way for Japanese people to off themselves recently is by inhaling toxic fumes in an enclosed space. They mix toilet cleaner or laundry detergent with bath salts to produce deadly hydrogen sulfide gas. The gas, which smells like rotten eggs, is so poisonous that it carries the potential to kill rescuers or sicken neighbors who live nearby.

This isn't the only recent case of suicide using this method. Last week the Mainichi Daily News ran a story about a married couple in their 30s who sealed themselves in their car and killed themselves using this poisonous concoction. It says this is the 27th case of suicide of this kind.

Besides inhaling the fumes from the toilet cleaner/bath salt mixture, another popular method has been carbon monoxide poisoning from burning charcoal inside a car.

My co-workers told me that it's becoming more common to hear about Japanese people making "suicide pacts" with other depressed individuals they meet through Internet chat rooms. They agree to go someplace peaceful in the mountains and kill themselves together. I guess it seems less scary to do the deed if you're not alone. Or maybe it gives you a "friend" to encourage you to go through with it.

Nothing to say. I just find the whole thing thoroughly disturbing.


dobharrison said...

It's extremely depressing, and one of the things I hate the most about Japan. Unfortunately, I can't see things changing any time soon; Japan's mental health provision is abysmal.

billywest said...

I think that the news media bears some responsibility for this?

Alex Case said...

I'd agree with billywest. There was a series on suicide on BBC Radio last year and they said methods go through booms in all countries and how much of a boom depends very much on how much press coverage it gets. From what I've been reading in "Saying Yes to Japan", dobharrison has a good point too.

Eolande said...

Well written article.