COVID-19 and Suicide in Japan

Author : Quentin Batista, Daisuke Fujii, Taisuke Nakata, Takeki Sunakawa


We quantify the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on suicides in Japan using a time-series model relating the number of suicides to the unemployment rate as well as private-sector forecasts of the unemployment rate before the crisis. We find that (i) the COVID-19 crisis increased suicides in Japan by about 7,000 from March 2020 to April 2022, (ii) the increase in the unemployment rate can only account for one third of the excess suicides, (iii) the excess suicides are skewed towards younger generations and female, and (iv) lost years of life expectancy associated with the excess suicides are almost as large as those associated with COVID-19 deaths.