Suicides among children in Japan at record high during pandemic: Report

Suicides among children in Japan at record high during pandemic: Report

Amid the pandemic, suicides increased in 2020 after a decade of declines

Child suicides in Japan are the highest they have been in more than four decades, local media have reported, citing the country's education ministry.

As the COVID-19 pandemic prompted school closings and disrupted classrooms last year, 415 children from elementary to high school age were recorded as having taken their own lives, according to the education ministry's survey.

The number is up by nearly 100 from last year, the highest since record-keeping began in 1974, the Asahi newspaper reported on Thursday.

Suicide has a long history in Japan as a way of avoiding perceived shame or dishonour, and its suicide rate has long been the highest in the Group of Seven nations, but a national effort has reduced numbers by roughly 40% over 15 years, including ten years of decline beginning in 2009.

Suicides among children in Japan at record high during pandemic: Report
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Amid the pandemic, suicides increased in 2020 after a decade of declines, with the number of women committing suicide surging amid the emotional and financial stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic, although fewer men took their own lives.

The education ministry said a record high of more than 196,127 school children were absent for 30 days or more, media reported.

The results showed that changes in school and household environments due to the pandemic have had a huge impact on children's behaviour, NHK quoted an education ministry official as saying.

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