The government on Tuesday approved a plan seeking a 30 percent reduction in the number of suicides over the next decade, calling the nation's suicide rate "critical."

The national guideline, reviewed for the first time in five years, aims to cut the number of suicides per 100,000 people from 18.5 in 2015 to 13 by 2025 — a level similar to the United States and Germany.

The new goal is equivalent to cutting the number of suicides to 16,000 or less by 2025. After peaking at 34,427 in 2003, the number of suicides in the country has been on a downward trend, falling for the seventh straight year to 21,897 in 2016.