Debt problems are associated with suicide. In Japan, the Money Lending Business (MLB) Act was revised in December 2006 and fully enforced in June 2010 to reduce multiple debt problems. This study aimed to examine the association between the full enforcement of the revised act and suicide rates.
An interrupted time series analysis was used to the national registry data of death records between January 2000 and December 2016. Stratified analysis was conducted to assess the differences between gender and age groups.
The effects of the full enforcement on the suicide rate were the greatest among men aged 40–64 years; after the enforcement, there was a significant decrease of −0.3085 per 100,000 persons in the level of the suicide rate (95% confidence interval [CI] −0.529 to −0.0881) and −0.0165 per 100,000 persons (95% CI −0.0215 to −0.0115) in the trend. Among women aged 40–64 and ≥65 years, an increase in the level of the suicide rate was observed after the enforcement.
The full enforcement of the revised MLB Act was associated with decreased suicide rates, particularly among middle-aged men. Policy interventions for addressing debt problems may have the potential to prevent suicide.