Japan suicides near record high

TOKYO (Reuters) – Over 33,000 people took their lives in Japan last year, topping 30,000 for the tenth consecutive year despite a government campaign to reduce what is one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

A report issued by the National Police Agency on Thursday showed that 33,093 people killed themselves in Japan in 2007 — the second-largest number on record after 34,427 in 2003 — mostly because of debt, family problems, depression and other health issues.

There was also a leap in the number of suicides involving toxic hydrogen sulphide gas made from household detergents, a previously obscure method that is spreading rapidly as Internet messages tell victims how to produce the poison at home.

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