Those who are left behind: An estimate of the number of family members of suicide victims in Japan

Joe Chen, Yun Jeong Choi, Kohta Mori, Yasuyuki Sawada, Saki Sugano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper contributes to the literature of suicide studies by presenting procedures and its estimates of the number of family members who lose their loved ones to suicide. Using Japanese aggregate level data, three main findings emerge: first, there are approximately five bereaved family members per suicide; second, in 2006, there were about 90,000 children who had lost a parent to suicide; and third, in 2006, there were about three million living family members who had lost a loved one to suicide. The direct production loss of bereaved family members in 2006 alone is estimated at approximately 197 million USD. These results are valuable in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of suicide prevention programs and in designing appropriate policy instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-544
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We would like to thank Hidehiko Ichimura and an anonymous referee for their comments. We also thank comments from Yasuyuki Shimizu of LiFELINK and members of ‘‘the White Paper on Suicide Prevention’’ project meetings supported by the Nippon Foundation. This research was supported financially by the Research Center for the Relationship between Market Economy and Non-market Institutions (CEMANO), a 21st Century Center of Excellence (COE) Program of the Graduate School of Economics at the University of Tokyo.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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