• Kyodo News

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The number of suicides in 2008 fell from the previous year but stayed above 30,000 for the 11th straight year, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The number of suicides in the reporting year stood at 32,249, down 844, or 2.5 percent, from 2007.

The agency said it released the data several months earlier than usual so nongovernmental groups established to prevent suicides can analyze the situation and draw up measures more quickly.

Monthly data were compiled for the first time, while details including reasons and motives for suicides will be released by the end of May, the agency said.

Males accounted for 22,831 of all suicides in 2008, down 647, or 2.8 percent, from the previous year. Female suicides came to 9,418, down 197, or 2.0 percent.

The number of suicides exceeded 2,000 in all 12 months. October saw the highest monthly total, with 3,092, followed by 2,939 in March and 2,854 in April.

By prefecture, Tokyo had the most suicides, with 2,941, followed by Osaka’s 2,128 and Kanagawa’s 1,818. Next on the list were Hokkaido with 1,726 and Saitama with 1,653.

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