45% of young people in Japan have suicidal thoughts, survey finds
Almost half of Japan's young population have experienced suicidal thoughts, a survey has revealed.
The country, which saw its population shrink by 556,000 in 2022 from a year earlier to 124.9 million, is witnessing at least "one in two young people" having suicidal thoughts, the survey conducted by Tokyo-based Nippon Foundation found.
According to Japan's Health Ministry, suicide has been the leading cause of death among young people in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
"Of 14,555 people aged 18 to 29 surveyed …, 44.8% had experienced suicidal ideation in the face of troubles such as difficult relationships with people close to them, bullying and worry about future educational or career paths," the survey details published by Kyodo News on Thursday revealed.
Around 40% of the 44.8% young people "had attempted suicide or taken some steps toward preparing to kill themselves."
"Trauma, such as from sexual abuse and bullying, played a great role, and when compounded, increased the likelihood of such thoughts," the survey found.
Amid the disturbing trend of increasing suicidal thoughts among its young people, Japan has posted a record fall of over 0.5 million in its already dwindling population in 2022, marking a 12th straight year of decrease.
Meanwhile, government data released on Thursday showed Japan's child population aged 14 and younger "fell for the 42nd consecutive year to hit a new record low ... to 14.35 million as of April 1, down by around 300,000 from a year earlier." This age group includes foreigners.
The country's overall population shrank by 556,000 in 2022 from a year earlier to 124.9 million, as the number of Japanese nationals saw its largest drop on record, government data released last month showed.
As of Oct. 1, the population, including foreign residents, stood at 124,9 million, with the number of Japanese nationals down 750,000 to 122 million, the largest margin of decline since comparable data were made available in 1950.
The alarming trend suggests an immediate need for Tokyo to establish a social system to cope with the dual challenge of a declining birthrate and an aging population.
All of Japan's 47 provinces except Tokyo logged a drop in the number of residents in the year to October last year, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.