Epidemic of charcoal burning suicide in Japan

Eiji Yoshioka , Sharon J. B. Hanley , Yasuyuki Kawanishi , Yasuaki Saijo
  • Declaration of interest

    None.

Abstract

Background

The charcoal burning suicide epidemics in both Hong Kong and Taiwan have been well documented. However, little is known about the situation in Japan.

Aims

To examine the impact of charcoal burning suicide on the overall and other method-specific suicide rates between 1998 and 2007 in Japan.

Method

Using data obtained from the Vital Statistics of Japan, negative binomial regression analyses were performed to investigate the impact of the charcoal burning method.

Results

In males and females aged 15-24 and 25-44 years, the charcoal burning epidemic led to a substantial increase in overall suicides, without a decrease in other methods. In all other age groups, no such trend was observed.

Conclusions

In young Japanese, the charcoal burning method may have appealed to individuals who might not have chosen other highly or relatively lethal methods, and consequently led to an increase in overall suicides.

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