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Suicide rates dip slightly, but officials still concerned

Date Posted: 2005-06-10

High unemployment is believed the predominant reason for Okinawa’s high suicide rate.

Officials say the numbers dropped slightly in 2004, but emphasized their concerns as the annual figure remained above 300 for a seventh straight year. Some 341 people committed suicide last year, a decrease of 30. Okinawa’s eight percent unemployment level, double that of Japan as a whole, is believed a key factor in the deaths.

Government officials note that 56 of last year’s deaths were women. They say Okinawans tend to be hot-and-cold about live, giving up easily, and encourage people to be more patient, thinking carefully and evenly. Nationwide, 30,000 peole took their own lives last year.

Sixty percent of those opting for suicide are believed to have been unemployed. Statistics suggest that in addition to employment woes, 30.8% were because of sickness, 26% for economic reasons, 12.6% family problems, 10.6% mental illness, 3.5% love or marriage difficulties, and 3.2% adverse business dealings.

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