Regarding David Quintero’s May 4 letter, “High Japanese suicide rate mystifies,” and the question he poses (Why do so many Japanese people kill themselves?): I don’t have a definitive answer, but I have come up with a few theories:

• There is historically, in Japan, a romanticized image associated with the taking of one’s own life.

• The social stigma attached to committing suicide is not the same as it is in most other countries.

• An infrastructure is not in place to help disturbed people before they commit suicide (or acts of violence upon others).

As Quintero mentions, there is a plethora of how-to-commit-suicide information available to people contemplating taking their own life.

Could it also be, and this is pure conjecture, that the Japanese mind views the ending of life in a more detached way? I cite the fact that about 80 percent of Japan’s population support capital punishment.

andrew dunstan

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