Child suicides in Japan at record high during Covid-19 pandemic

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Child suicides in Japan are the highest they have been in over four decades, local media cited the country’s education ministry in a report.

According to the ministry’s survey, 415 children from elementary to high school age were recorded to have taken their own lives after the Covid-19 pandemic prompted school closings and disrupted classrooms last year.

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 topped the Group of Seven nations,

The numbers were brought down by a national effort to roughly 40% over 15 years, including 10 straight years of decline from 2009.

However, 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. Fewer men took their own lives.

The education ministry said a record high of more than 196,127 schoolchildren 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. (Source: The Independent)

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