Accessing Suicidal Ideation from Responses to Queries on Subjective Well-Being

  • Susumu Kuwahara
  • Teruyuki Tamura
  • Akiko Kamesaka
  • Toshiya Murai
Part of the Creative Economy book series (CRE)


Japan’s suicide rate rose after the Asian Crisis and the subsequent economic downturn, and has remained high since. In 2009, the male suicide rate was the third highest among OECD countries, and the female suicide rate was the second highest. According to the National Police Agency, more than 30,000 people committed suicide on average in each year from 1998 to 2011; in 2013, 27,283 people killed themselves in Japan. In addition, the National Police Agency (2014) reported that the major reasons for committing suicide in 2013 were health conditions (13,680 cases), financial difficulties (4,636 cases), family problems (3,930 cases) and work issues (2,323 cases) in Japan. The methods used to commit suicide, in 2009, were: hanging (19,700), gas poisoning (4,337), jumping from a great height (2,360), drowning (886), incision (683), other poisons (663), jumping in front of trains (643), and other suicide methods (1,150). Suicide also generates a negative externality; the WHO (2000) indicates that on average each suicide intimately affects at least six other people. Thus, suicide prevention programs should also include postvention to those who are mentally affected.


Suicidal Ideation Suicide Rate Suicide Prevention Order Probit Model Suicidal Intent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Ryoichi Watanabe and Shiho Kawano for supporting this research project at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. We are especially grateful to Bruno Frey, the editor of this chapter. We also thank Miles Kimball, Seiichi Kondo, Margit Osterloh, Noah Smith, Tim Tiefenbach, Aki Tsuchiya and participants of the International Workshop held at Doshisha University in Kyoto and the International Conference held at the EHESS in Paris on “Comparative Study on Happiness” for all comments and suggestions received while working on this manuscript. This work was supported by JSPS Topic-Setting Program to Advance Cutting-Edge Humanities and Social Sciences Research.


  1. Cabinet Office of Japan. (2012). Initial investigation on the results of quality of life survey FY 2011 (Online Survey). Well-Being Study Unit, Economic and Social Research Institute. Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 20 May 2015.
  2. Cabinet Office of Japan. (2014). White paper on suicide prevention in Japan, 2014. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 20 May 2015 (in Japanese).
  3. Chang, E. C., & Sanna, L. J. (2001). Optimism, pessimism, and positive and negative affectivity in middle-aged adults: A test of a cognitive-affective model of psychological adjustment. Psychology and Aging, 16(3), 524–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen, J., Choi, Y. C., Mori, K., Sawada, Y., & Sugano, S. (2012). Recession, unemployment, and suicide in Japan. Japan Labor Review, 9(2), 75–92.Google Scholar
  5. Denney, J. T., Rogers, R. G., Krueger, P. M., & Wadsworth, T. (2009). Adult suicide mortality in the United States: Marital status, family size, socioeconomic status, and differences by sex. Social Science Quarterly, 90(5), 1167–1185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. DiTella, R., MacCulloch, R., & Oswald, A. (1997). The macroeconomics of happiness (CEP Working Paper 19).Google Scholar
  7. Helliwell, J. F. (2007). Well-being and social capital: Does suicide pose a puzzle? Social Indicators Research, 81, 455–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kawanishi, C., et al. (2014). Assertive case management versus enhanced usual care for people with mental health problems who had attempted suicide and were admitted to hospital emergency departments in Japan (ACTION-J): A multicentre, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(3), 193–201. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(14)70259-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Koivumaa-Honkanen, H., Honkanen, R., Viinamaeki, H., Heikkilae, K., Kaprio, J., & Koskenvuo, M. (2001). Life satisfaction and suicide: A 20-year follow-up study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 433–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. National Police Agency of Japan. (2014). Statistics on suicides in Japan in 2013. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 20 May 2015 (in Japanese).
  11. Putnam, R. D. (1993). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Schaeda, U. (2013). Sunshine and suicides in Japan: Revisiting the relevance of economic determinants of suicide. Contemporary Japan, 25(2), 105–126.Google Scholar
  13. Stack, S. (1990). New micro-level data on the impact of divorce on suicide, 1959–1980: A test of two theories. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52(1), 119–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Stack, S. (2000). Suicide: A 15-year review of the sociological literature. Part II: Modernization and social integration perspectives. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 30(2), 163–176.Google Scholar
  15. Watanabe, R., Furukawa, M., Nakamura, R., & Ogura, Y. (2006). Analysis of the socio-economic difficulties affecting the suicide rate in Japan (Kyoto Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 626).Google Scholar
  16. WHO. (2000) Preventing suicide: A resource for general physicians. Geneva: World Health Organization. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 20 May 2015.

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susumu Kuwahara
    • 1
  • Teruyuki Tamura
    • 2
  • Akiko Kamesaka
    • 1
    • 3
  • Toshiya Murai
    • 4
  1. 1.Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Cabinet Office, Government of JapanTokyoJapan
  2. 2.School of Economics and ManagementKochi University of TechnologyKochiJapan
  3. 3.School of Business AdministrationAoyama Gakuin UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of MedicineKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations