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Nov. 26, 2009, Sakai City, Japan: This is Satoru Kobari, President of the Tojinbo Kankou Kyokai, the tourism association that promotes the majority of tourism for Tojinbo, a popular tourist attraction on the Japan Sea coast. He is in his office just above the cliffs of Tojinbo on Nov. 26, 2009 where he also operates boat cruises of the area. However Tojinbo is also known for the number of suicide deaths that occur here annually and Kobari and his collegues are somewhat unsettled by the efforts of an NPO called Kokoro ni Hibiku Bunshu Henshukyoku, which patrols the Tojinbo cliffs to prevent suicide attempts. This NPO headed by by retired policeman Yukio Shige, who along with a group of volunteers patrols the cliffs daliy to deter those contemplating jumping to their deaths. However many merchants at Tojinbo feel Mr. Shige and his NPO is tarnishing the image of Tonjinbo due to much unwanted publicity and attention. According to Shige, age 65, of Fukui Prefecture, in the past five years since he founded his NPO he is responsible for talking 222 people out of killing themselves. But even with Shige’s efforts, the deaths here continue and as of late November, 2009, the current number of annual suicides at Tojinbo stands at thirteen. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world and 2009 may surpass the record 34,427 deaths that occurred here in 2003. This increase is though to be a result of the Japanese recession which has been worsened by the global economic downturn. Depression is the number one cause for suicide in Japan, followed by illness and debt. Photo by Torin Boyd.
- Torin Boyd 2009 - All Rights Reserved
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