What’s causing the train suicides?

Because of the large number of suicides, the Chuo train line (in Tokyo) has become a quite unreliable mode of transport. But what is it about Japanese society that is causing so many of its members to take their lives?

Recently I spoke to a woman of retirement age who told me that her ward office had impounded her entire monthly salary three times in the past year, leaving precisely zero yen in her account each time. As she earns very little, it seems bizarre that she should be taxed to this extent. Worse is the mental torture that such treatment entails. She never knows whether her salary will be in her account or not. Such a situation is calculated to drive anyone mad or to push them to suicide.

I wonder if there are any human rights lawyers investigating the behavior of ward offices.

joseph o’leary
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • wanderingpippin

    I wonder if the writer can provide more details about the woman who says her salary has been impounded. Has she been in arrears on perhaps her income tax or health insurance premiums and ignored repeated notices to pay? It seems highly unlikely that her salary would just be impounded with no prior notice or for no good reason. However, ward and other offices do sometimes make mistakes. If that is indeed the case here, has she visited her ward office to find out why and have them rectify the situation if it is mistaken? You really have not given us enough information to form any kind of opinion.