Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2011). 32(1), 5–14. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000046 SIEC No: 20231002
Background: Suicide is one of the leading causes of mortality in both South Korea and Japan. Aims: The study aims to compare the descriptive epidemiology of suicide over the last two decades (1985-2006) and to explore the conditions associated with the different distribution of suicides in both countries. Methods: Age-standardized suicide rates were obtained from the OECD Health Data 2009. Age-specific suicide rates for the age groups were calculated from the WHO Mortality Database. Suicide methods were identified based on ICD-10. Results: Through 1980-2000, Japan showed consistently higher suicide rates compared to Korea. However, from the mid-1990s, Korea showed an acute increase of suicides and finally surpassed Japan; the age-standardized suicide rate of Korea increased from 10.2 (per 100,000) in 1985 to 21.5 in 2006, while it slightly increased from 18.4 to 19.1 in Japan. The highest age-specific suicide rate was observed among Japanese men aged 45-64 years and Korean men aged over 64 years. The increase of elderly suicides among Korean women was notable. The gender ratio increased in Japan and decreased in Korea, respectively. The preferred suicide methods were hanging and pesticide poisoning in Korea and hanging in Japan. Because of the limited number of observations, hypothesis testing of specific risk factors was not possible. Conclusions: Age and gender distribution of suicide rates differed considerably between the two countries. Welfare protection throughout the life course in both countries, and pesticide regulation in Korea would be helpful in reducing the burden of suicide mortality in both countries, even if the social values could not be changed in a short time.