Suicide-plagued Country Japan Initiated Consumption Tax Increase
No More Tax Increase!
The Liberty, August 2011 issue

Suicides are unlikely to decrease at all. The number of suicides last year was 31,690, which has exceeded 30,000 for the last 13 years (2011 edition “Measures to Combat Suicide” white paper). It is an abnormal circumstance that the number of suicides exceeds the number of casualties of the Great East Japan Earthquake every year.

When viewed from occupation, the jobless comprises about 60 percent; viewed
from age, males in their forties to sixties comprise about 40 percent of suicides; and when
viewed from motives, those who have health problems totaled 15,802 persons (the most), and economy and life problems are totaled 7,438 persons. From this data it can
be said that depression is a very big reason for the increase in suicides. If we look at
the detail of health problems, we can see the influence of depression, as 7,020 persons
committed suicide because of “worry and influence (melancholia) of sickness”.

After increasing the consumption tax, the number of suicides exceeded 30,000.

So from when did suicides due to depression begin? An interesting fact appears when we look at changes of the number of suicides for a long period. The number increased suddenly in 1998. The number of suicides was 24,391 in 1997. The number increased to 32,863, or by about 8,500 persons in the next year (graph 1). Among them, 6,600 were males.

What on earth had happened from 1997 to 1998? What is remembered is that the consumption tax had increased from 3% to 5% in April, 1997. Sanyo Securities, the Hokkaido Takushoku Bank, and Yamaichi Securities failed in November of that year, and the serious up-to-the-present deflationary depression started from around those days. From the above facts, we can obviously see a flow: “tax increase -> depression (financial unrest) -> suicide increase”.

In fact, when we see the pattern of the number of suicides according to a cause and motive, those who commit suicide for reasons of “economy and life problems” have actually been increasing rapidly in and after 1998 (graph 2).

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Suicide-plagued Country Japan Initiated Consumption Tax Increase
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