A quarter of Japanese consider suicide

08:30 AEST Thu May 3 2012
A new survey says many young Japanese people are considering suicide. (Thinkstock)
A new survey says many young Japanese people are considering suicide. (Thinkstock)

More than a quarter of Japanese in their 20s have thought about taking their own life, according to a survey, in a nation with one of the world's highest suicide rates.

Like New Zealand, Japan is a high hitter in youth suicides, coming first among developed nations for female suicides aged 15-24. New Zealand not far behind in third place.

The survey, released on Wednesday, found that 28.4 of respondents in their 20s had contemplated suicide, the highest of any age group, while 36.2 percent of that group had considered taking their own life in the past year, according to the report.

"The data shows that the younger people hesitate to talk to others, or cannot find anyone to talk to when they have a problem because of shallow relationships with others," said the survey conducted by Japan's Cabinet Office.

"They tend to suffer alone," it added.

Overall, 23.4 percent of the more than 2,000 adult respondents said they had thought of committing suicide, up 4.3 percentage points from the previous and first such survey conducted in 2008.

The ratio stood at 27.1 percent for women and 19.1 percent for men.

Japan, with a population of about 128 million, has one of the world's highest suicide rates, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

More than 30,000 people take their lives annually in Japan amid rising unemployment, with family troubles and health problems also cited as key factors behind many of those suicides.

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