The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but it seems as if women bore the brunt of it more than men in the East-Asian countries of Japan and Korea. Japan is a country that is known to very accurately report the number of suicide cases. In 2020, more people died owing to suicide than due to the COVID-19 infection.

As per a report published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, there was a spike of 16% in the monthly suicide rate between July and October 2020. Japan, anyway, had the highest suicide rate among the G7 nations.

As a result, Japan appointed a Minister of Loneliness in the cabinet to inspect the gravity of this matter. 

Japan appointed a Minister of Loneliness in 2020

The Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Yoshihide Suga said, “Women are suffering from isolation more (than men are), and the number of suicides is on a rising trend. I hope you will identify problems and promote policy measures comprehensively.”

So why is it that women are more vulnerable to it? Let’s find out.

Increased Female Suicides In Japan

Japan has witnessed a surge of 43% in female suicides in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. October alone saw a spike of 70% in female suicides compared to October 2019. 

Women are expected to play a dual role – be a boss woman/hard-working employee out there and a dedicated homemaker in the house. However, when the line between work and personal got blurry, it became all the more difficult for women to adjust. 

Japan is very much a patriarchal society and quite conventional in its norms. Women are still second-class citizens there, fighting for equal rights. They are more prone to domestic violence and mental suffering. As per a report by Amnesty International, over 13,000 women reported cases of violence against them in April 2020 alone. 

A new term “corona divorce” was coined to refer to divorces that happened during COVID. To avoid the number of divorces, a Japanese firm started to offer apartments on a per-day basis to spouses. The customers were mostly women who needed a break from their routine. 

Read More: Amidst Rising Suicide Rates, Japan Appoints Its First ‘Loneliness’ Minister

High Gender Inequality In Japan

Japan is a developed nation, but it performs poorly on the gender scale. It ranked 121 out of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 gender gap index.

One of the most crucial factors is that more and more young women are choosing to stay unmarried. They focus on the work, which is primarily irregular or part-time. Not having stable employment is more likely to affect the sanity of an individual.

As per a survey released by the public broadcaster Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), 26% of women reported job losses as opposed to just 19% by men since April 2020. 

Suicide Rate Increased Following A Celebrity Suicide

Japan lost a popular actress, Yoko Takeuchi, who took her life in September. After this, the number of female suicides increased by 8-18% in the next 1-2 months. Moreover, there was an 18-44% spike in the risk of suicide by the same method as employed by Yoko.

japan female suicides
Death of Yoko Takeuchi by suicide

It is not unique to Japan. When a prominent figure passes away by suicide, it pushes to edge other vulnerable people who are going through hard times themselves. 

When someone dies by suicide, it is an immeasurable loss to the nation and the world. The times are hard. If you ever feel desolated, anxious, or have suicidal thoughts, try and seek help from counselors or your kin.

Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: BBC,, The Japan Times

Find The Blogger: @TinaGarg18

This post is tagged under: japan female suicides, south korea suicides, mental health, depression, anxiety, mental problems, suicidal tendencies, suicidal thoughts, suicide a great loss, covid-19, pandemic, economic distress, stable employment, job losses, high gender inequality, women empowerment, atrocities faced by women, asian countries

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