a The Transit Lounge: Mind Matters

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Monday, August 23

Mind Matters

Last month, Japan’s Health Ministry reported that
Japanese women had the longest life expectancy in the world for the 25th year in a row, with the average life span being 86.44 years in 2009. While much has been made of this fact, perhaps more attention should be focused on why the gap between the life expectancy of Japanese women and that of Japanese men is increasing. Interestingly enough, this gap widened last year by 0.09 percent to 6.85 years. While Japanese men have the fourth highest life expectancy in the world at 79.59 years, high suicide rates amongst the country’s young men are impacting it significantly.

According to the National Police Agency, 32,845 people committed suicide last year, with over 70 percent of them being men. This translates into one suicide every 16 minutes, leaving Japan with one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Police say that men carry more stress, and the state of the country’s economy, along with big job losses that followed the global financial crisis are mostly to blame. However, underlying mental health issues that often act as the catalyst to suicide are largely ignored both statistically and on a more personal level by family, due to the shame associated with them—even though a 2008 study by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor found that 24 percent of Japanese suffer from mental health problems.

Read more at Weekender Japan.

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Anonymous ibec said...

There was an article last week in NYT on how the statistical results for high age in Japan were inaccurate because of the high number o family members not reporting the deaths in the family in hopes to keep getting the deceased's retirement salary, in some cases leaving the body just like that in the bed for more than 10 years.

5:51 pm

Blogger Miss Riz said...

You're right and I made reference to this in a blog post last week or the week before but I wrote this article for Weekender just after the initial report was released - and before those dodgy people were investigated! One of them had a mummified "dad" in bed....he has been there for about 30 years!

12:18 pm


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