South Korea has highest suicide rate, Japan minister hangs himself

Featured - September 11th, 2012

On World Suicide Prevention day, South Korea’s suicide problem, which rates highest in the developed world, moved to the top of the news agenda.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of South Koreans who committed suicide increased from 2009 to 2010, with 28.4 people per 100,000 to 33.5 people per 100,000. About 42 South Koreans – mainly elderly and young adults – kill themselves everyday. Women are more likely to commit suicide than men.

The ministry blamed “complicated socio-economic reasons along with aging population and a growing number of one-person households” as being behind suicides among South Koreans, Yonhap reports. According to the Wall Street Journal, the South Korean government spends $1.7 million annually on suicide prevention, compared to Japan which allocates $250 million.

Which is why the suicide of Japan’s financial services minister seemed to come as a shock. Tadahiro Matsushita apparently hanged himself at his residence where he was found by his bodyguard on Monday. A suicide note was reportedly found in his room. Matsushita apparently called the Financial Services Agency saying “he could not show up” for work that afternoon. Matsushita was investigating on the Nomura Holdings Inc. insider trading scandal. He was 73. It was reported that allegations about Matsushita’s private life were about to be published by a local magazine.