The Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan concerns itself partly with the general health and safety of the Japanese population.
This spring’s Cabinet Office health campaign is a suicide prevention one, focusing on the issue of sleep deprivation, called “Nemurete-masuka?” or “Are you sleeping OK?”
According to the National Police Agency, over 30,000 people in Japan have killed themselves each year over the past 12 years, 40% of whom were males aged between 40 and 70. The suicide rate typically peaks in March, which is the end of the financial year in Japan, and which is therefore when this campaign was launched.
The message is “If you haven’t been sleeping properly for two weeks or more, you may be depressed, and liable to suicide.” Consultation with a doctor is recommended for people in this condition.
The Cabinet Office’s suicide prevention campaign video features a (typically, for Japanese TV, misty, airbrushed, romantic) after-breakfast scene at home with a puffy-eyed, exhausted-looking dad about to head out to work, and his mobile-phone texting daughter actually breaking away from her texting long and decisively enough to question dad about whether he’s been getting enough sleep or not. The campaign poster is based on the same scenario.
However, Japan’s suicide rate, while high, is not the highest in the world. It is second among the Group of Eight nations after Russia, and, according to the latest available figures, sixth highest in the world. However, there are those who believe that it may be much higher than reported, due to the Japanese government’s definition of suicide, which is rather narrower than that of the World Health Organization.
Friday, May 21, 2010
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