In Japan, suicides outnumbered covid deaths by nearly sixfold in 2020

Newly released data from Japan’s ministry of health shows that in 2020, suicides outnumbered COVID deaths by nearly sixfold. In 2020, 20,919 individuals died from suicide and 3,460 people died of COVID-19 in the country.

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Devastating news figures show that in Japan, more people died from suicide just October 2020 than from COVID through the 10-month period from January to October 2020, a shocking result of what has now become a year of profound isolation. 

For the year 2020, 20,919 individuals died from suicide, nearly six times the 3,460 COVID deaths in the country. Suicides increased nearly 4% in 2020 from the previous year. 

Suicides reached a high of 2,153 in October, Japan’s National police revealed. 

There had been 2,087 deaths from COVID in the 10-month period from January 2020 to October 2020, less than October’s suicide toll. 

The U.S. and other industrialized countries do not disclose their suicide data in the way Japan does. The country is among the few to disclose suicide data in a timely fashion. The most recent data from the U.S. goes back to 2008. 

Japan did not go into compulsory lockdown but the country put in place recommendations and measures to limit gatherings and curb the spread of the virus.

For many, this meant the adoption of remote working and increased social isolation. 

It is believed that countries or jurisdictions which went under strict lockdowns will see a steep increase in suicides, depression, and mental health problems. 

It is however hard to quantify these impacts since the suicide data is scarce and often unavailable. Jurisdictions like the province of Quebec which have been under strict lockdown for nearly 75% of the year 2020 will likely be affected.

Political authorities in Quebec have maintained that there has not been an increase in suicide, but they have not released data to prove this claim. Ambulance drivers and emergency workers have come out against this claim, saying they have witnessed a dramatic increase in suicides on the ground, especially amongst the youth.

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