Inside Japan Inc.: Suicide as Salvation

Learn more: "I just feel irritated, exhausted and disgusted," Naoya Nishigaki wrote before committing suicide in 2006. "I know the cause of my depression is definitely work."Naoya wasn't alone. He was part of a growing trend in Japana trend especially prevalent among younger workers who are scrambling for vanishing job security. A stagnant economy has forced many Japanese companies to do away with their signature lifetime employment, lay off full-time workers and replace them with lower-paid temporary contractors. Statistics from Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare paint a striking picture: the leading cause of death among the Japanese population age 20-34 years is suicide. One in three suicides were believed to be work-related. Meanwhile, this same age group files more than half of the compensation cases for work-related mental illness. Some are able to sue their companies for compensation, but others find death to be their sole solution. Prejudice and discrimination associated with suicide discourage the victims' families from reporting, which means the actual number of such suicides could be much report is part of the Pulitzer Center sponsored project "Japan's Disposable Workers: Lost in the Global Unemployment Crisis" ().

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