KOFU, Yamanashi Pref. - The remains of 78 apparent suicide victims were found hanging in the Aokigahara woods at the foot of Mount Fuji last year, a record high for the “suicide forest,” police said Thursday.
The Fuji-Yoshida Police Station in Yamanashi Prefecture said 83 people apparently intending to kill themselves in the area known as “the sea of trees” were also found and taken into protective custody last year. That was 20 more than in the previous year.
The previous record high for suicides found in the forest was 73 in 1998.
Most of the dead last year were men, police said, attributing the high suicide rate to depression over loss of jobs or heavy debts.
Of those taken into protective custody, most were from outside Yamanashi Prefecture, ranging from Hokkaido to Kyushu.
Fuji-Yoshida police issued a plea to people feeling suicidal to seek professional help.