The coronavirus has officially claimed almost a million and a half lives worldwide. However, it is not affecting all countries equally and a good example is Japan, which despite having a population of 126 million inhabitants, almost three times that of Spain, It has only suffered 2,000 deaths from covid-19.
That has led to a paradox in the land of the rising sun, there, more people have died by suicide in a single month than for coronavirus in the entire pandemic. A fact that may seem incredible, but is endorsed by the Japanese authorities. In October 2,153 people committed suicide, while the total number of coronavirus victims reached 2,087 on November 30.
Michiko Ueda, a professor at Waseda University in Tokyo and an expert on suicides, explains to CNN that: “we did not even have a lockdown and the impact of covid-19 is minimal compared to other countries … But we still see this large increase in the number of suicides. That suggests that other countries could see a similar increase or even higher in the number of suicides in the future. ”
The drama of suicide
Japan is one of the few countries that offers updated data with suicide statistics due to the problem it poses, since it is one of the places in the world with the most suicide victims. Has a rate of 18.5 suicides per 100,000 people, is practically double the world average, which is about 10.6 per 100,000, according to data from 2016.
Factors such as long working hours, school pressure or social isolation are fundamental in the increase in suicides
Throughout this decade, Japan had managed to reverse the rising figure in the number of suicides, leaving the statistic at about 20,000 in 2019, the lowest figure since 1978. However, the pandemic has once again triggered the number of suicides. victims, mainly affecting women. The reason must be found in that part-time workers in hotels, food industry and retail, where there have been thousands of layoffs.
According to a study among more than 10,000 people from the NGO Care, one in four women suffered more mental health problems during the pandemic, something that only happened to 1 in 10 men. The fact that they are the ones who have to take care of many domestic tasks, including taking care of the children when they have been sent home due to the closure of schools, has only multiplied the problem.