Feeds

Web suicide pacts sweep Japan

Desperate individuals

New hybrid storage solutions

The number of Japanese people who killed themselves after making suicide pacts forged over the internet almost doubled last year. Ninety-one people topped themselves in groups after meeting on the net during 2005, compared with 55 in 2004 and 34 in 2003, when the National Police Agency in Japan began keeping records of the disturbing phenomenon.

Desperate individuals in their 20s accounted for 40 per cent of these figures, or 38 deaths, 39 were in their 30s, while eight youngsters between 10 and 19 ended their lives after forming online death pacts. Fifty four of the 91 suicides were males and 37 were females.

In response to this growing trend, Japanese ISPs have begun passing on details of people who post suicide pact messages on sites they host to police, local English language paper The Daily Yomiuri reports. Since October 2005 when ISPs drew up guidelines on the practice, and the end of 2005, police intervened in 12 cases involving information about 14 people, 12 of whom were taken into protective custody.

The BBC reports that Japan has one of the world's highest suicide rates and online pacts make only a small contribution to a much larger problem. A downturn in the Japanese economy was followed by an upsurge in suicide by 35 per cent in 1998. Deaths by suicide have exceeded 30,000 in every year since.

The idea of suicide pacts appeals to desperate individuals frightened of dying alone. Those that look will find no shortage of data online including an online guidebook that gives advice on the best locations to take your own life.

"Many people are too scared to die alone," said Yumiko Misaki, director of the Tokyo Inochi no Denwa (Phone of Life), a suicide counselling service, told Reuters. "So they reach each other through the internet and make arrangements.

"And the worst thing is that people are often very influenced by reporting on this, so it's likely to keep on increasing." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.