TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Japan Internet Providers Spy and Inform on Suicide Postings

Japan Internet Providers Spy and Inform on Suicide Postings

Reuters News Wire (
Thu, 25 Aug 2005 10:28:34 -0500

Japan's communications and Internet services industry is planning to
provide police information on people who post messages suggesting they
may be close to committing suicide.

Four communications industry groups have worked out guidelines for
submitting the information, which could include the names and
addresses of such people, Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday.

Rising numbers of Japanese are dying each year in group suicides after
meeting online via suicide web sites, posing a new problem for
officials trying to tackle the nation's alarmingly high suicide rate.

The guidelines mandate disclosing the information to police only as an
emergency measure when suicide attempts are believed to be imminent.

The industry groups will present the guidelines, drawn up with help
from the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and National
Police Agency, to group members for their feedback, aiming to put them
into practice in October, Kyodo added.

Officials could not be immediately reached for confirmation.

According to police, 32,325 Japanese took their own lives in 2004,
down from the record 34,427 who killed themselves the year before but
still the seventh straight year of suicides rising above 30,000.

The number of people who committed group suicides linked to the
Internet came to 70 in the first half of this year, eclipsing last
year's total of 55, Kyodo said.

No religious prohibitions exist against suicide in Japan and it has
long been seen as a way to escape failure, or of saving loved ones
from embarrassment or financial loss.

In 2000, according to the World Health Organization, Japan's suicide
rate was 35.2 per 100,000 for men and 13.4 per 100,000 for women. The
rate in the United States that same year was 17.1 per 100,000 for men
and 4.0 per 100,000 for women.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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