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Japanese Suicide Rate Swells Amid Prolonged Economic Slump

Suicides are mounting in Japan with the number of people killed themselves swelling over 30,000 last year, the National Police Agency said Tuesday.

The number of people who committed suicide in Japan rose in 2009, exceeding 30,000 for 12 years in a row, the agency said in a preliminary report released in Tokyo.

The number of suicides compared with 2008 increased by 504 to 32,753 people, the fifth-highest number on record. Men top the list with 23,406 (71.46 per cent) suicides.

On an average, 90 suicides took place per day, which suggests that almost 1,000 people were on the brink of suicide on any given day of the year, experts said.

Japan's prolonged economic slump is mainly believed to be the reason for the spurt in suicides after 1998 when their number surpassed 30,000 for the first time.

Health problems, including work-related depression, were a prime motive for suicides, accounting for 47 per cent of the suicides in 2008, while economic reasons constituted 23 per cent and family problems 12.1 per cent, the agency said.

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