Japan has attained a reputation as the suicide capital of the world. A 2007 international comparison of suicide rates (per 100,000 people) by the World Health Organization ranked Japan sixth for females, at 12.8, behind Sri Lanka, South Korea and Lithuania, and 11th for males, at 35.6, well below Lithuania, Belarus and the Russian Federation. Although total suicides actually dropped slightly last year, entrenched cultural mores, the pressures inherent to a modern economy and alarming rates of youth depression are likely to continue driving tens of thousands of citizens to self-destruct every year.

Following are questions and answers about Japan's struggle with suicides:

How does Japan's suicide rate compare with other industrialized countries?