SDF suicide rate outpaced national average from 2003 to 2014


Japanese soldiers killed themselves at a rate consistently higher than the national average from 2003 to 2014, the government has revealed.

Suicides in the Self-Defense Forces totaled 1,044 over the 12-year period ended on March 31, and reached peaks of 100 in fiscal 2004 and 101 in fiscal 2005 and 2006, it said Friday.

Suicides fell to 82 in 2013 and bottomed out at 69 in 2014, but stayed higher than average, a written answer vetted by the Cabinet to a question from Lower House member Tomoko Abe of the Democratic Party of Japan said. The SDF average was usually 30 per 100,000 members. For civilians, it was 23.7 in 2014.

In the peak years, the Ground Self-Defense Force was in Iraq to aid reconstruction, and the Maritime Self-Defense Force was in the Indian Ocean to back the war against terrorism.

The suicide rate per 100,000 SDF members stood at 39.3 in fiscal 2004, and 38.6 in fiscal 2005 and 2006. In fact, it was over 30 for all 12 years except 2014, when it fell to 29.1. But even that surpassed the average of 23.7 for adults in 2014, the paper said.

The government also said 56 SDF members killed themselves after returning from overseas missions, up two from the previously disclosed number. The new cases involved two MSDF members who served in the Indian Ocean.

The causes of individual suicides are often difficult to pin down because there are various factors influencing each other, the written answer said.

Information from Kyodo added

  • Tomoko Endo

    I’ve read that they drink narcotic drugs and the drugs are caused commiting suicide.
    Narcotic drugs are priscribed to patients to kill them.
    The drugs are poisen to worsen human feeings, because they shrink human’s brains.
    In Japan, most psychiatists are Korean

  • Liars N. Fools

    Extra stress from deployments in support of America could very well increase the risk of suicide. Japan needs to consider this factor.

    • Tomoko Endo

      What make them dipression?Media didnot report about it?

    • Starviking

      Well, it would seem that the increases occured when the SDF were actually doing their jobs, rather than training.

  • Brooklyn456

    Suicide is the worst possible crime on earth. It is lower than the lowest, worse than the worst. It is an insult to God. If someone commits suicide, it is the worst possible betrayal of God because each individual is the embodiment of God’s highest Dream. God’s highest Dream is to make each and every individual His absolutely choice instrument. God gives us limited freedom, but if we use that limited freedom to destroy ourselves, we are destroying everything that God wanted to create in and through us. God gives us a knife thinking that we will use it to cut a mango and share it with our friends. But instead of cutting a mango, if we stab ourselves out of anger, frustration and doubt, it is the worst possible sin that we are committing.

    When normal people die, even if they were not spiritual, they ascend to a certain plane of consciousness. But people who commit suicide enter into a low, lower, lowest plane of consciousness where they suffer excruciating pains. The excruciating pains that human beings can suffer on earth are nothing in comparison to the torture that they undergo in this plane of consciousness. I have a free access to all the planes, so I know what happens to those who commit suicide and I also know what happens to people who lead a spiritual life. I know, because I have the capacity to go to the abysmal abyss, just as I have the capacity to go to the highest height.

    – Sri Chinmoy

    • Tomoko Endo

      They might leave their duties, but they commited suicide.

  • 151E

    This may well just reflect sampling bias as many military recruits often come from the margins of society and may already be less emotionally stable and psychologically resilient, with a higher propensity for suicide than the general population.