Statistics on Aokigahara's suicide rates vary, in part because the forest is so lush that some corpses can go undiscovered for years or might be forever lost. However, some estimates claim as many as 100 people a year have successfully killed themselves there.
Self-inflicted death doesn't carry the same stigma in this nation as it does in others. Seppuku—a samurai's ritual suicide thought to be honorable—dates back to Japan's feudal era. And while the practice is no longer the norm, it has left a mark. "Vestiges of the seppuku culture can be seen today in the way suicide is viewed as a way of taking responsibility," said Yoshinori Cho, author of Why do People Commit Suicide? and director of the psychiatry department at Teikyo University in Kawasaki, Kanagaw .
The global financial crisis of 2008 made matters worse, resulting in 2645 suicide rating in January 2009, a 15 percent increase from the previous year. The numbers reached their peak in March, the end of Japan's financial year. In 2011, the executive director of a suicide prevention hotline told Japan times, “Callers most frequently cite mental health and family problems as the reason for contemplating suicide. But behind that are other issues, such as financial problems or losing their job.”
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