Suicides rose in Japan in the second wave of the country’s Covid pandemic, particularly among women and children, despite having fallen in the first wave, a survey has found.
According to a Reuters wire report, the July to October suicide rate was up 16% on the same period a year earlier, according to a study by researchers at Hong Kong University and Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology.
It was a stark reversal on a 14% drop in Japan’s suicide rate in the February to June period. The decline was linked to government subsidies, reduced working hours and school closures, the study found.
But the prolonged pandemic has since badly affected industries where women predominate, increasing the burden on working mothers, while domestic violence increased, the report said.
The suicide rate for women rose 37%, about five times the increase among men, while the child suicide rate spiked 49% in the second wave, corresponding to the period after a nationwide school closure.
“Unlike normal economic circumstances, this pandemic disproportionately affects the psychological health of children, adolescents and females (especially housewives),” the authors wrote in the study published on Friday in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.
Taro Kono, administrative and regulatory reform minister, told Reuters on Thursday that while the government would consider extending the state of emergency, it “cannot kill the economy.”
"People worry about Covid-19. But a lot of people have also committed suicide because they have lost their jobs, they have lost their income and couldn’t see the hope. We need to strike the balance between managing Covid-19 and managing the economy."