Japan has a high suicide rate. It’s one of the highest in the world. And one Tokyo train station, a known suicide spot, is doing what it can to stop people from taking their lives.

If you are feeling depressed or ever contemplate taking your own life, please talk to someone, whether that’s friends, family or professional counselors.


Shin-Koiwa Station in Tokyo is one of the country’s most infamous suicide spots. (It’s even mentioned on the Japanese Wikipedia page of well-known places where people take their own lives). Over the years, the station keeps experiencing suicides. For example, between 2011 and 2013, there were 13 incidents at this one station. Some seem to be suicides, while others might have been people accidentally falling on the tracks. The rail company JR East is considering the installation of barriers on the station’s platforms.

In Tokyo, many stations have platform barriers to prevent suicides (as well as to prevent people from accidentally falling onto the tracks—which does happen). Website Tofugu has an informative article that deals with suicide in Japan and points out that some of the country’s railroad stations have sued the families of people who jumped in front of trains, aiming to reclaim lost income caused by suicides. As heartless as that sounds, these court cases are also a way to prevent future suicides. That is, at train stations.

As mentioned on 2ch, Japan’s biggest web forum, popular site Buzz News recently visited Shin-Koiwa Station. It doesn’t look like platform barriers have been installed just yet. So, in the meantime, the station has taken other steps to prevent suicides.

[Photo: Buzz News]

Parts of the roof are covered with blue plastic so that soothing blue light can stream onto the platform.

[Photo: Buzz News]

[Photo: Buzz News]

On the platform, there are also notices for suicide prevent hotlines for people to call, free of charge.

[Photo: okayu_prfm]

Tissues with suicide hotline prevention numbers are given out.

[Photo via 2ch]

Besides emergency buttons people can press if someone jumps or falls on the tracks (or even gets stuck in the train’s doors), there’s a demo area where you can practice pressing a mock-up button. This is to raise awareness and hopefully save lives.

[Photo via 2ch]

[Photo: michipdale]

There are three big screen televisions, which show calming underwater footage of dolphins and other sea creatures as well as mountains and oceans. Again, the blue imagery is supposed to calm, relax, and sooth.

[Photo: worldwideyrp]

Sometimes, they apparently show kittens, too.

Barriers might do the most to prevent people from ending up on the tracks, whether people are attempting to take their own lives or accidentally fall. There are deeper issues that need to be addressed, such as a awareness and acceptance among Japanese people of counseling in dealing with stress and mental health issues. There’s still a stigma surrounding that in Japan. There shouldn’t be.

Top photo: Buzz News

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter@Brian_Ashcraft.


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