In his May 15 letter, “Suicide image is misrepresented,” William Wetherall seems to dismiss the concerns of so many in Japan about this country’s shamefully high suicide rate.

Comparing Japan’s population numbers and suicide rates in 1955 and a half-century later, Wetherall states that the suicide rate in 2005 was actually lower than in 1955 when “population increase and aging” are taken into account. He also speculates that even if the number of suicides annually stays above the 30,000 mark for the next two decades, the suicide rates would still be less than in his arbitrarily chosen year of 1955.

This line of reasoning is disingenuous at best, and I doubt that few people other than Wetherall are interested in such an irrelevant statistical comparison. Rather, the crux of the issue revolves around the question of why has this country had more than 30,000 suicides each year since 1998? More importantly, what can be done to improve the present deplorable situation?


patrick hattman