Japan suicide rates hit 2-year high in May

The number of suicides in Japan hit a two-year high in the month of May, according to data released Wednesday by the nation’s authorities.

For the first time in two years, the monthly suicide number topped 3,000 in the month of May, the National Police Agency said.

The report says suicides in Japan totaled 3,281 in May 2011, up nearly 20% from the same month last year.

The spike reverses a steady decline in the number of suicides since the end of last year, when the government launched a national public awareness campaign.

Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, and continues to grapple with a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

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