• Kyodo News

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About 32,000 people killed themselves in Japan in 2008, keeping suicides above the 30,000 line for an 11th straight year, a tally showed Thursday.

The calculation is based on preliminary data from the 47 prefectural police forces.

The National Police Agency has not yet released its own suicide tally for 2008, but the figure in the Kyodo tally is slightly less than the 33,093 suicides in 2007 announced by the NPA last June.

Government officials said the latest data do not necessarily reflect the fallout from the global financial crisis, but warned suicides could rise as people who lose their jobs in the economic slowdown begin to despair several months later.

Meanwhile, the NPA released monthly suicide data for the first time Thursday, showing 2,645 people took their lives in January. That’s bigger than the 2,305 reported in January 2007 in a monthly population survey taken by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

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