• Kyodo News

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The number of suicides in 2008 exceeded 30,000 for the 11th consecutive year, with depression continuing to top the list of reasons, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The final toll was 32,249, down 2.6 percent from 2007, the NPA said.

The authorities attributed 6,490 to depression, representing about 28 percent of the 23,490 suicides for which a reason was identified, either through a suicide note or information from people close to the victim.

Depression was also the most common reason in 2007, the first year the NPA disclosed such details. The agency has 50 categories.

The second most common reason last year was physical ailments, blamed for 5,128 suicides, followed by 1,733 over debts from multiple lenders and 1,529 over other debts.

By age, suicides were most common among people in their 50s, with 6,363 cases, down 9.7 percent from the previous year. Suicides among people in their 70s totaled 3,697, down 5.4 percent. The figure for those aged 80 or older stood at 2,361, down 5.1 percent.

The number of younger people who killed themselves was up. Those in their 30s came to an all-time high of 4,850, up 1.7 percent. Those in their 20s totaled 3,438, up 3.9 percent, and those aged up to 19 came to 611, up 11.5 percent.

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