Railway Suicide in Japan

  • Yasuyuki Sawada
  • Michiko Ueda
  • Tetsuya Matsubayashi
Part of the Economy and Social Inclusion book series (ESI)


Railway and subway suicides constitute a major problem in many parts of the world (Mishara 2007). Suicides at train stations and on railroads pose a serious challenge to transportation safety and inflict severe economic losses by causing suspension and delays in train operations. The costs associated with railway suicides can be extremely high in places where trains are a major method of transportation for commuters and students, as in many metropolitan areas of the world.


  1. Chung, Y. W., Kang, S. J., Matsubayashi, T., Sawada, Y., & Ueda, M. (2016). The effectiveness of platform screen doors for the prevention of subway suicides in South Korea. Journal of Affective Disorders, 194, 80–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. CIA Fact Book. 2016.Google Scholar
  3. Cothereau, C., de Beaurepaire, C., Payan, C., et al. (2004). Professional and medical outcomes for French train drivers after “person under train” accidents: three year follow up study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 61, 488–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Farmer, R., Tranah, T., Odonnell, I., et al. (1992). Railway suicide—The psychological effects on drivers. Psychological Medicine, 22(2), 407–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ichikawa, M., Inada, H., & Kumeji, M. (2014). Reconsidering the effects of blue-light installation for prevention of railway suicides. Journal of Affective Disorders, 152–154, 183–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kim, H.-R., Yim, H. W., Jo, S.-J., et al. (2013). Major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder in Korean subway drivers. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 86, 471–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ladwig, K. H., Ruf, E., Baumert, J., et al. (2009). Prevention of metropolitan and railway suicide. In D. Wasserman & C. Wasserman (Eds.), Oxford textbook of suicidology and suicide prevention (pp. 589–594). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Law, C. K., Yip, P. S., Chan, W. S., et al. (2009). Evaluating the effectiveness of barrier installation for preventing railway suicides in Hong Kong. Journal of Affective Disorders, 114, 254–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Law, C. K., & Yip, P. S. F. (2011). An economic evaluation of setting up physical barriers in railway stations for preventing railway injury: evidence from Hong Kong. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 65, 915–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Law, C. K., Sveticic, J., & De Leo, D. (2014). Restricting access to a suicide hotspot does not shift the problem to another location. An experiment of two river bridges in Brisbane, Australia. Aust. N. Z. Journal of Public Health, 38(2), 134–138.Google Scholar
  11. Limosin, F., Loze, J.-Y., Cothereau, C., et al. (2006). Aprospectivestudyofthepsychological effectsof “person undertrain” incidents ondrivers. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 40(8), 755–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Matsubayashi, T., Sawada, Y., & Ueda, M. (2014). Does the installation of blue Lights on train platforms shift suicide to another station?: Evidence from Japan. Journal of Affective Disorders, 169, 57–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Matsubayashi, T., Sawada, Y., & Ueda, M. (2013). Does the installation of blue lights on train platforms prevent suicide? A before-and-after observational study from Japan. Journal of Affective Disorders, 147, 385–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mishara, B. L. (2007). Railway and metro suicides: understanding the problem and prevention potential. Crisis, 28, 36–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pirkis, J., Spittal, M. J., Cox, G., Robinson, J., Cheung, Y. T. D., & Studdert, D. (2013). The effectiveness of structural interventions at suicide hotspots: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Epidemiology, 42(2), 541–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation, and Tourism, the Government of Japan (2016). Annual Report on Rail Transportation Statistics.Google Scholar
  17. Ueda, M. Sawada, Y., & Matsubayashi, T. (2015). The Effectiveness of Installing Physical Barriers for Preventing Railway Suicides and Accidents: Evidence from Japan. Journal of Affective Disorders,178, 1–4.Google Scholar
  18. World Development Indicators. 2016.Google Scholar
  19. Weiss, K. J., & Farrell, M. J. (2006). PTSD in railroad drivers under the federal employers’ liability act. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 34(2), 191–199.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasuyuki Sawada
    • 1
  • Michiko Ueda
    • 2
  • Tetsuya Matsubayashi
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of EconomicsThe University of TokyoBunkyō, TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Political Science and EconomicsWaseda UniversityShinjukuJapan
  3. 3.Osaka School of International Public PolicyOsaka UniversityToyonakaJapan

Personalised recommendations