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January 3, 2007


Indicators - Wellbeing / Health

W-4. Suicide Rate (per 100,000 population)

1.Current Values
25.5 persons / 100,000 (in 2003)

2.Current Points
(out of a perfect score of 100 by 2050) 43 points
Calculation method:
(Current value - minimum value) / (2050 target value - minimum value) x 100

3. Explanation of Indicator
All people want to live lives that are satisfying and have value both materially and spiritually. Currently there is an increase, however, of people who, for a variety reasons such as health problems, financial problems, or personal problems, have lost their mental balance and can no longer see the value of living.

From 1998 onward, when the number of suicides in Japan topped 30,000, the number has been on the increase. Suicides are among the top causes of death (either first or second place) in the 10 year-old to 40 year-old range; suicides among the elderly have also increased. Japan's suicide rate is among the highest in the world. Why is this the case when there is such economic affluence? We have chosen the suicide rate as an indicator because of the need to revisit the question of "What sort of society will allow people to see the value of living fully ?"

4.Target for 2050
7.1 persons / 100,000

5.Ideal for the Future
Approaching zero

6. Rationale for Ideal and Target Values
Realistically, zero is probably not possible. Yet, as suicide is the acts that result from losing mental balance and losing sight of the value of living, we must address the root causes thereby reduce such tragedies as much as possible.

We made 7.1 our target value for 2050, a realistically feasible level; it is the same as that of Italy (per 100,000 population in 1999), the country with the lowest rate in an international comparison of suicide death statistics.

7. Source
Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare "Special Statistical Report on Population Dynamics"(Japanese only)

8. Notes
Comparing age-adjusted death rates of men and women, although in 1950 men had 1.3 times more "deaths from all causes" and 1.7 times more suicides than women, the difference between men and women has grown gradually and in 2003 men had twice as many "deaths from all causes" as women and three times as many suicides.