“Internet kills nine in Japan,” by Gaijinbiker, Riding Sun, http://ridingsun.blogspot.com/2005/02/internet-kills-nine-in-japan.html, 6 February 2005.
The AFP reports on the latest in a string of group suicides in Japan:
Nine people were found dead in two cars outside Tokyo today in what were believed to be the latest in a series of macabre suicide pacts involving charcoal burners that have swept Japan.
…Nearly 50 people have died in similar suicides since early October.
Gaijinbiker, after exonerating the internet from blame, analyzes
Instead of blaming technology, we should be looking at why these folks are so depressed in the first place:
Suicide rates rose after the economy began to slump in the 1990s.
So, to get suicides down, Japan needs to get economic growth up. And while there are plenty of structural problems in Japan’s economy that need to be addressed, one thing that will help pull Japan out of its slump is the Internet.
Japan’s anemic economy is a moral crises. Nations can happily grow quickly or slowly, but when they stagnate they breed misery. Japan’s Prime Minister is a reformer, and his privatization and anti-agriwelfare reforms are promising. Let’s hope he can get Japan moving again before they have 1930s-level unemployment like their former ally.