Tokyo: Train Stations and Suicides

train station suicides

Everybody likes ghost stories. Huddling around the campfire swapping tales that would make the hair on your nape stands. It gives us a sense of mystery, that there are still things that couldn’t be explained by science.

Every city has its own ghost stories: a headless priest, a dead inmate pulling his ball and chains, a child humming a lullaby in the dead of night.

And the city of Tokyo is no different. However, there is a far scarier issue that’s been plaguing Japan for years: suicide.

Train station suicides

Shin-Koiwa Station is perhaps one of Tokyo’s most infamous train stations due to people committing suicide in the place. Between the years 2011 and 2013 there have been 13 people who have taken their lives in this station, although some of those numbers may have been accidents.

But Shin-Koiwa is just one of the many train stations where people have committed suicide, so many that the city placed barriers and automated gates on these places.

However, these are only deterrents and aren’t actual solutions. People who made up their minds about taking their lives can simply climb over the barriers.

There are other steps that have been implemented as well. If you’ve been to Tokyo or is going to visit the place you’ll notice blue lights that are installed inside their train stations. This particular color has been linked to decrease suicide rates, not only in Tokyo or Japan, but all over the whole world.

There are no concrete explanations as to why this is but there are a lot of theories surrounding it, one of which is that the blue lighting is said to provide a soothing and calm feeling to a person. But again, this isn’t hard evidence and is merely a theory at the moment.

Weight of urban living

Japan is among the top counties that has a high suicide rate. Tokyo alone clocked a number of 2,825 suicides out of the country’s overall 27,195 in 2013. And yet that was one of Japan’s lowest suicide rates.

Let’s laser focus our attention to Tokyo.

The city has been described as a placed where the weight of urban living is bearing down on its citizens. The average worker in Tokyo spends almost over an hour in commuting alone, with the train carrying four times more than the amount it’s supposed to.

The increase in single-housing has also been noted among young individuals indicating that social support is as thin as parchment.

There are also a lot of forums online urging individuals to take their own life. Sometimes these people even meet each other and decide on a group suicide.

It has become so bad that the government of Japan stepped in and took charge of the situation. Strategies have been made such as the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare allocating a budget for suicide prevention programs in 2001. Another is the law passed in 2006 The Basic Acts of Suicide Countermeasures.

Cybercrime operatives have also been mobilized to identify potential suicidal individuals that are participating in online suicide threads.

Thankfully, these steps taken by the government seems to be working as the number of suicidal counts in the country has been slowly declining over the years.

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