Monday, July 21, 2008

Suicide Epidemic Grips Japan

Another insightful article has been written about the suicide epidemic in Japan.

Paul Wiseman in USA Today writes about how the suicide epidemic has changed now that suicide websites that in fact - aid, abet and counsel suicide, are available.

Wiseman writes:
"The 517 self-inflicted deaths by hydrogen sulfide poisoning this year are part of a bigger, grimmer story: Nearly 34000 Japanese killed themselves last year."

Wiseman explains that one of the reasons that authorities are alarmed that suicide has reached epidemic levels (among others) is:
"The internet has allowed young, depressed Japanese to get suicide tips and find others with whom they can enter into death pacts."

Wiseman also quotes Koji Tsukino, a anti-suicide activist who is a recovered alcoholic and drug user who attempted suicide 10 times before his 30th birthday.

Tsukino says:
"the latest suicide craze is even scarier than those in the past."

He then says:
"Hydrogen sulfide is dangerous even to those who don't wnat to kill themselves. The toxic gas can carry into neighboring buildings and apartments. In April 80 people were injured and another 120 had to be evacuated after a 14-year-old girl killed herself with hydrogen sulphide in southern Japan's Kochi prefecture. She'd left a note on the door of her family's apartment that said, "Gas being emitted. Don't open," according to the kyodu news service."

Wiseman finishes his article by stating:
"Police have asked internet providers to ban websites the promote suicide - but with only only mixed success."

There needs to be a world-wide ban by all nations on suicide promoting websites. Aiding, abeting and couseling suicide via the internet directly threatens the lives of people who are depressed, mentally incompetent or experiencing a sense of hopelessness.

We need to protect depressed people in the same way as we are protecting children from being victims of child porn websites.

To link to the original article:

To link other blog postings on the issue:


Blaise Alleyne said...

I don't think that a world-wide ban is the answer. When has a world-wide ban of anything online actually worked? Take spam for example... it'll just drive these sites "underground" and make it harder to find those behind them.

I think the responsible thing to do would be to go after those behind the websites, and to try and counter the message these websites send with educational campaigns or something so that people aren't interested or easily swayed by them in the first place.

Blocking them will never work though, unfortunately...

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Blaise:

I agree that a world-wide ban is very unlikely to work, especially since there will never be a unified push on a world-wide basis.

I also agree that going after those who are behind the websites is likely to be more effective.

In fact, the laws concerning child pornography are oriented toward the perpetrators, the promoters, and the distributors.

We need to view these suicide promoting websites in the same vain as child pornography because they prey upon the most vulnerable.